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‘It’s often not feasible’ – Waterford dual star Caoimhe McGrath to focus on football this season

Caoimhe McGrath was a dual Ladies football and camogie player.

Waterford’s Caoimhe McGrath has opted to focus all of her attention on Gaelic football in 2021 having decided to put her dual duties as a camogie player to the side this season.

The demands of training have led her to concentrate on football, though she is delighted that the Ladies football and camogie fixtures are not clashing directly this year, as opposed to previous seasons.

“Unfortunately, just due to the training demand and match clashes and things, I made the decision just to focus on the football this year,” said McGrath.

No clash between LGFA and camogie matches.

County camogie and football teams are scheduled to play matches on different days, leading to no direct clash for dual players in the league, a development that pleases McGrath.

“I think that’s brilliant (that fixtures won’t clash). It’s a great step forward. It was very disappointing for myself and other dual players last year, and in previous years as well, if there were clashes.

“Be it you’re trying to play the two matches in the one weekend – which is doable for a dual player especially in the league campaign – but if it’s two matches in the one day, at this level, it’s often not feasible.

“It’s understandable this year that due to the shortened campaign, the fixtures will be quite tight but hopefully it could be mitigated in future seasons. Especially for young players coming through, it would be great for them to be able to see their role models playing both Ladies football and camogie for their county.”

Caoimhe McGrath could be a dual player again at some stage in future.

McGrath found it challenging enough to balance her career as a dual star, though she certainly would not rule out doing it again in the future.

“I suppose there were certain elements I would have found more challenging than others,” she added.

“I was lucky enough, even coming from the physio background, I’d be interested in acute and chronic training loads and things. I had built up a chronic training load from previous years’ training so I was able for the physical demands of it.

“I often found it was quite mentally challenging to juggle two matches in one weekend – or maybe if there were clashes, to be communicating between the two and trying to decide which one I was going to play: were you going to play both or what was the best? What they wanted, I suppose, and coming to a resolution between the two codes.

“That would have been probably the most frustrating side of it, the mentally demanding side of things. Other than that, you had to be on the ball with everything from nutrition, the sports psychology and everything, as you would be if you were playing the one code.

“But when you add in the second, it felt like I was constantly on the go. There was less downtime. But I wouldn’t be ruling it out for future seasons or anything, it was just the nature of this season and personal situations and everything that I decided to focus on football for this year.”

Waterford LGFA are planning to have their own pitch.

Waterford LGFA will become one of the very few counties to own their own facilities in the future, as they’re building an 11 acre ground near Dungarvan. McGrath welcomed this announcement and feels it will really help her county.

“It’s brilliant. It was very exciting when I heard the news. It’s something that’s been in the pipeline and there’s a lot of groundwork been going in since 2015 to the best of my knowledge,” she said.

“Brilliant location and everything – it’s actually just down the road from me here in Clonea. I was saying it to one of the girls the other day. I’m actually so jealous of the young girls coming up through and starting at that level and starting that.

“I remember the two euros to training and the pan loaf of bread and the ham for the sandwiches afterwards. The professionalism and the facilities and everything that are going to be available for those girls coming through. I think it’s phenomenal. It would be very exciting to see where things in the next few years with it,”

McGrath’s Waterford team are in a daunting league group with Dublin, Cork and Tipperary and begin their campaign against All-Ireland champions Dublin in Parnell Park this Sunday.

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