*Chloe Morey in action for Clare. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography
The eternal conundrum of how to optimise performance while revelling in the journey is something that Chloe Morey has possibly cracked ahead of her latest tilt at the All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship.
Ultra-competitive almost to a fault since making a dramatic impact from the bench at a mere 15 year old in Clare’s 2008 All-Ireland Junior winning breakthrough, the secret to finally easing off the self-pressure valve has basically been to tell herself a little white lie each time she lines out.
“I’ll be brutally honest I used to be incredibly nervous before games and it would almost stall me but I’m at the point now where I’m like going into every game saying to myself ‘this will be my last year, this will be my last year’. I have that attitude now going into every year so that I can still maximise effort but try to enjoy it that bit more.
“If anything, I get too serious about matches anyway so I just need to calm down and let loose a bit rather than taking it all to heart. Now I do still get a fair slagging of being the oldest on the team but overall I think I’m enjoying it that bit more.
“I took a break from inter-county a few years ago and it was probably the best thing I did because it made me realise why I was doing I was doing. I think I’ve played in nearly every position on the field now for Clare at this stage but I feel that I’m really lucky to be involved”.
Don’t worry, the 2013 All-Star winner hasn’t become completely mellow yellow just yet as there is still plenty of competitive spirit in the Sixmilebridge star as evidenced when talking about last Saturday’s agonising Munster Final reverse after 90 minutes of extended action against Cork.
“I suppose the type of player that I am, I wanted to win and I thought we had it in normal time. To be honest, we want to win every match. I never see matches as preparing for another match, I mean if that was the way you’d be preparing for matches for all your life.
“The last time we won a Munster Championship was in 2012 and there’s only myself, maybe NOD and John Carmody left from that final when we beat Cork so you’d always want to win a Munster Final. People were patting us on the back afterwards and saying we did great which is a really nice thing but this group of players, we’re quite determined I suppose and we wanted to win a Munster Final at the end of the day.
“I’m only coming right now I think because I was absolutely shattered. Everyone was because it was the type of game that everyone contributed to the game and performance and you couldn’t be prouder of everybody. Look, it was still a great match to prepare for the All-Ireland Championship and we know now from how well we played that that’s how hard we can work and therefore our next few weeks is all about adding to that. And as well as work-rate, we want to show off our skillset as well and being consistent in that and therefore we’re looking forward to getting going in the All-Ireland series.”
That eagerness, despite facing into their fourth championship weekend in a row, is commonplace across the entire 50 strong panel in a whole new departure for Clare’s adult structure.
“Having the two panels together this year, I think Conor Dolan and John Carmody went out on a limb a little bit as people weren’t sure if that was going to work. However, there’s a belief instilled in the group and we have a way that we play now, we can go short or long and it’s really starting to pay dividends.
“It has been most noticeable in challenge games as opposition teams were starting set up to counteract what you’re doing as maybe in previous years it was vice-versa. Every team we’ve played has tried to come up with a system to beat us which is a great position to be in and I think we’re very confident in the way we play. We are able to pass it around the back or go long and we’ve pace to burn going up the middle of the field as well as runners all day. So I think we’re just confident in the players that we have really and there’s a lovely mix as well. People differentiate between seniors and juniors but when we go training, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference because there’s such competition which is brilliant.
“There’s people nipping at your heels to make sure that if you slack off for even a second, there’s a girl that will one hundred per cent take your place so it’s a nice atmosphere that we have at the moment. And to be fair to Clare [Hehir] and NOD [Niamh O’Dea], they’ve instilled a mantra of ‘just go out and enjoy it’ so while I probably take games too seriously myself, it’s nice to have people there relaxed and enjoying it which can only help our performances.
“For example last Saturday, I think it was after the first round of extra-time we were all in a huddle and nobody said anything and Clare Hehir just looked around and started bursting out laughing and then everyone was laughing because that’s the type of team we are. Clare actually said ‘are ye not enjoying this?’ And we were, it was just mad and yet nice to be part of.”
That said, the provincial heroics of the past few weeks will count for very little if Clare cannot back up their swashbuckling displays against Tipperary and Cork in the All-Ireland series over the next two weekends, starting with Saturday’s opener against the Premier in The Ragg tomorrow (Saturday) at 5pm.
“We’ve probably played every team in the championship in a challenge match so we know where we’re at and what to expect. We’re therefore under no illusions at to the huge challenge that Tipperary are going to bring on Saturday, they’re going to want to rip into us after what happened in the last few weeks so we’re just going to have to rise to that.
“We want to dictate what happens in the game and make them play our game really and in fairness to John [Carmody], he’s excellent at that. We only worry about ourselves as there’s just too much going on and too many games to be worried about what anyone else is doing. However at the same time, we’re not ignorant to that fact that they are going to come hard at us on Saturday. I’m looking forward to that as that’s what you want, to be testing yourself against the best all the time so I’m really buzzing for it now. I’m really thrilled that the All-Ireland Championship starts this weekend.”
For someone that is somehow balancing her considerable inter-county commitments with her passion projects of teaching in St Caimin’s Secondary School in Shannon along with being six months into operating her own gym business, Morey Movement, with his first cousin Seadna, life has mirrored the upcoming championship challenge in that despite such a frenetic schedule, Chloe appears to relishing her current status more than ever before.
“The business is going great. People have been excellent to Seadna and I with the gym. It’s been absolutely hectic, we start at 6am, I head to school then for six hours and probably have to back to the gym some evenings as well as training but Seadna has been so good in helping cover each other.
“It’s kind of daunting starting your own business and I wouldn’t necessarily have any business head at all but we’re really invested in it and believe in what we’re doing in trying to help people.
“It’s not just coming in for a gym session and get out, we’re trying to educate people so that they can use it in the future and perhaps we won’t see them in a year or two because they’ve learned so much that they can do it on their own. It’s great and the GAA community have been exceptional to us, with teams coming in and everything so hopefully it will only grow and grow and grow really”.
The same trajectory that Clare are hoping to embark on over the next few weeks.