Wednesday 21 February 2018

Colfer relishing his coaching role with high-flying Gaels of London

Colfer, who works as a Community Development Administrator with London GAA, has enjoyed a productive stint with TCG
Colfer, who works as a Community Development Administrator with London GAA, has enjoyed a productive stint with TCG

Cian O'Connell

When Tir Chonaill Gaels chairman Tom Mohan made the call asking would Lloyd Colfer be interested in assuming a coaching role, the response was both swift and positive.

Colfer was due to undergo hip reconstruction surgery in April so the chance to work alongside Tir Chonaill Gaels manager Barney Breen was attractive.

The Gaels retained their London senior championship crown and now an All-Ireland quarter-final with Clonmel Commercials beckons at Ruislip today. "I didn't want to lose contact with being involved with a team so I jumped at the chance," said Colfer, who won a London title as a player with Kingdom Kerry Gaels two years ago.

"I was very interested in getting involved because a lot of people in Ireland don't realise that Tir Chonaill Gaels are a massive club over here.

"They have lots of homegrown players and then guys who come over from Ireland like to get involved because they are successful. It was a great thing for me to be involved with Barney Breen, who has lots of inter-county experience from his time with Leitrim. It has been good for my development as a coach and depending on how my response from the hip reconstruction goes, this might be my future."

Despite the serious nature of the operation, Colfer remains hopeful of launching a comeback as a player. "I had a hip reconstruction in April so since then I have been working hard on rehab. At the time the surgeon said I probably wouldn't play again, but we will see about that.

"It has degenerated throughout the years, I suppose, having played so much Gaelic football and soccer. It is down to a combination of things like the gym work I was doing. My surgeon also said it could be down to genetics, too, so at least I can blame my parents for that," Colfer joked.

Colfer, who works as a Community Development Administrator with London GAA, has enjoyed a productive stint with TCG. "I'd definitely like to keep being involved in teams. It has been great for me especially following the operation."

Before concentrating on Gaelic football, Colfer was a highly rated young soccer star featuring in Wexford Youths' first campaign as an SSE Airtricity League club. "I got a scholarship with UCD and I also played with Waterford United and Bray before playing in the first season with Wexford Youths. Since then, though, I have been focused on Gaelic football.

"It is great what Mick Wallace has done for Wexford Youths and I watch how they are doing. He sent me a message when the won the league because they were trying to get the former players back for the last game of the season but I couldn't make it."

The past 14 months have been especially demanding for Colfer, who left Wexford for London four years ago. "My son Zack lives in Kells in Ireland so being away from him is hard," he explains. "He has been a sick little chap so it is tough. He will be 14 months next week, but he was born with half a heart so he has been in and out of Crumlin. In the club we did a fundraiser where some of the lads grew beards and we raised €5,500 for the heart centre in Crumlin. The guys in the club have been a great help."

That type of spirit has served the Gaels well throughout the decades and, they will hope, does so today too.

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