Monday 23 October 2017

Foxe thrilled to follow in free-taking footsteps of heroine Kelly

Chloe Foxe is in the vanguard of the new breed, joined by the likes of Joanne Dillon, Amy Cardiff and Sarah O’Connor. Photo: Sportsfile
Chloe Foxe is in the vanguard of the new breed, joined by the likes of Joanne Dillon, Amy Cardiff and Sarah O’Connor. Photo: Sportsfile

Daragh O Conchuir

There were many who questioned whether Wexford would make it to the knockout stages of the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Championship.

Tipperary, Offaly and Limerick were snapping at their heels and the perception was that they may be mortally wounded by losing Kate Kelly and Deirdre Codd to retirement, Katrina Parrock to soccer and Mags D'Arcy, who opted to step away from the panel.

With only Mary and Úna Leacy still around from the 2007 breakthrough, it was thought that too much know-how had been removed.

That did not give sufficient credit to the next generation however, and joint-bosses John Kelly and Matty Flynn O'Connor, who have managed the young guns' graduation expertly.

Chloe Foxe is in the vanguard of the new breed, joined by the likes of Joanne Dillon, Amy Cardiff and Sarah O'Connor. They have flourished this year but face their biggest test when taking on Dublin in the first of this evening's televised quarter-finals double-header at Semple Stadium.

Foxe was given a taste of the action as a Leaving Cert student last year but has created a huge impression this term. The St Martin's sharpshooter was just 10 when the Yellow Bellies took over Croke Park a decade ago. Sharing a dressing-room with so many legends could have been daunting but Foxe kept her mouth shut and her ears open.

Inspirations

"Players like Kate Kelly… she was one of my true inspirations growing up" says Foxe.

"Just looking at her… the desire to go and fight for every ball as if it was her last is really something I've tried to bring to my game."

Foxe has succeeded her heroine - now a mentor - as free-taker.

The entire family is immersed in sport. Foxe's father Ger was a selector with Jason Ryan when Wexford reached the All-Ireland senior football semi-final in 2008. Her brother Ger hurled for the county, and all her other siblings play at some level.

Foxe herself has lined out for Wexford at underage level in ladies football and soccer, but camogie always held sway. No-one is surprised by her progress, and her influence was particularly notable against Tipperary at Innovate Wexford Park on July 15.

The computer science student at UCD had damaged her hamstring and after missing too much training, was held in reserve against the Premier County.

The visitors scored two quick goals to draw level in the second half, which was the signal for Foxe's introduction. She quickly scored a goal and a point to put her team in command once more.

"After I had an injury, the lads chose not to start me and I completely understood that as I missed training," she says. "And I was pleased for the girls that got to come in because everyone is going so hard in training.

"I saw it as an opportunity. I said 'I'm not sitting on the bench for another summer so I better do something when I get in'."

The rest is history. With more to be written.

Irish Independent

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