‘We’re just happy to finally get a bit of recognition for the work we’re putting in as well’

September 19, 2021 0 By HearthstoneYarns

IN INTERVIEW SITUATIONS, it’s often easiest to start from the very start. 

Right back to the beginning, and how the player or athlete in question first got into their beloved sport. 

Limerick star Marian Quaid set out like most others: out in the garden with the family. 

“I’ve been playing since I was about four,” the 21-year-old smiles. “I probably started out on the front lawn with my Dad pucking around and then I started playing with my club Bruff when I was five.

“I’ve been playing ever since.”

First with the club, then into the county set-up from underage development squads right the way up, Quaid has been proudly donning the green jersey from U13. Week in, week out she honed her skills and perfected her trade, enthusiastically working towards the breakthrough to the senior panel.

Now in her fifth year on such, she shyly giggles when the word leader is mentioned.

Just barely in her twenties, it’s hard to believe she’s one of the most experienced players in the squad.

“It’s huge.” she agrees, though. “We actually do have a really young panel now. We won minor in 2014 and those girls are nearly the majority of the panel now.”

That new blood has really come in and lifted things in the Treaty set-up, it must be said.

They’re most definitely on an upward curve after experiencing some hard days since their transition to senior in 2014. Tomorrow, they play their first-ever All-Ireland senior quarter-final.

“Thank God,” Quaid beams. “We’re delighted to be into a quarter-final now. It’s huge for us. I think everything since the start of the year this year has gone well; the mindset has been so positive. Declan [Nash, manager], Darragh [O’Grady], all the lads in the background; they’ve done so much work.

They’d do anything for us, and we’re finally able to give it back to them now getting out of the group. We’ve been knocking on the door for a while for sure.

For such a hurling stronghold, it could be quite surprising to hear that the county have never reached the knockout stages of the senior camogie championship.

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Quaid with her brother, Michael, at the Camogie Association’s ‘Go Together’ campaign launch.

Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Bear in mind this interview was conducted before the 2018 hurling champions exited the race for the Liam McCarthy Cup last weekend, but Quaid — no relation to the family you’re surely thinking of — was extremely upbeat about all goings on in Limerick at the time. 

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“GAA’s at an all-time high at the moment in Limerick,” she said. “We’re delighted to be able to get in there a little bit. It’s huge.

The girls won the football last year [All-Ireland junior championship] so they got huge publicity as well for it. We’re just happy to finally get a bit of recognition for the work we’re putting in as well.

To add to it all, the morning of our conversation was when Adare Manor was confirmed as the host of the 2026 Ryder Cup. Shannonside is place to be these days, she grinned. Another massive boost.

The biggest in recent memory though, was, of course, John Kiely’s men’s All-Ireland win last year — Quaid was in Croke Park that day: “I held the tears in. My Dad did a bit of crying for me, I’d say! They were unreal” — and the camógs are now hoping to match those scenes and drive on more and more. 

“Especially just seeing where GAA is in Limerick now,” she nods. “We’re putting in all the work, we’re training three times a week as well so we’re just delighted to be getting out of the group and hopefully getting a bit of recognition for that.”

Tipperary come as unfamiliar opposition in Semple Stadium tomorrow [throw-in 5.30pm, live on RTÉ], with both sides gearing up for a “very tough match”. They don’t know a whole pile about each other, having not met in championship much over the past few years.

But the fact that it’s a double-header in a big stadium and set to be shown live on television all adds to the excitement of the occasion.

“That’s huge, like,” the soon-to-be second year physiotherapy student in University of Limerick, who’s working part time in a betting office and with soccer analysis company STATS, concludes.

“I’ve definitely never played a match live on TV before, it’s massive for all of us. I suppose we don’t really want to be meeting Tipp in their home ground either but that will give us another incentive hopefully to just give it everything.

“We just need a good performance against them now.”

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