Dual star Aoife Minogue in National Camogie League Div 2A action for Meath against Derry in Ashbourne on Sunday. Photo: Gerry Shanahan-www.sportinmotion.ie

'I love playing both codes, that's why I do it'... Dual star Minogue on managing county camogie and football starring roles

Dunderry's Aoife Minogue is a member of a select group of people, an endangered species, one that is rarely spotted these days in the fields and parks of the GAA. The dual inter-county player.

Those who are part of the group are rare because the demands are severe. Only a few really committed people would be able for the requirements needed to perform in both codes at inter-county level. Minogue clearly is.

An example of those demands could be seen last weekend. On Saturday Minogue made the trip down to Cork with the Meath footballers. She played the game but the long trip back up the road wasn't shortened in any way by the final outcome. Meath lost.

While the rest of her colleagues were resting up on Sunday, or more than likely engaging in some recovery programme or other, Minogue was back into the trenches. This time with the Meath camogie team as they went about the task of securing a place in the National Camogie League Div 2A final by defeating Derry.

The arduous trip down south didn't seem to bother this multi-talented player as she ran up and down the pitch, regularly embarking on those surging runs forward that are such a major aspect of her game - but then she is only 25 and clearly has a love for both football and camogie.

"I love playing both codes, that's why I do it. I got to play two games for my county this weekend, so I should be happy about it," she said as she stood on the Ashbourne pitch shortly after the win over Derry.

She's able to engage in both codes, she adds, through the co-operation of the Meath camogie and football management teams. Some days she will train with one, other days she will train with the other. It's a system that might not work for a lot. It does for her.

"Both managements are very good, they are focused on keeping everyone fit and healthy. We work it out from week to week. That's the way we are working it at the moment."

Minogue seems energised by overcoming the practicalities of playing both codes - although she's clearly a very practical person, something that's suggested by the fact she works as a tax advisor.

"I just enjoy both games, love turning out for the county, and once I am enjoying it all I'll keep going."

Certainly on Sunday the Dunderry player put in another tour de force display, surging up and down the pitch. She bagged her customary haul of points and near the end made a vital, goal-stopping interception in front of the Meath posts as Derry came searching for a goal.

She may have lost on Saturday but on Sunday she bore the broad smile of sweet victory. Minogue was superb but so was the team overall with warriors such as Rachel O'Neill, Tracy King, Leah Devine, Sophia Payne, Amy Gaffney putting in the kind of gritty, never-give-a-millimetre approach that typified the team's general outlook. Such an approach was needed as Meath engaged in what Minogue felt was the team's "toughest game of the year so far."

The Dunderry player was part of the Meath side that clinched promotion from Div 2 to Div 1 of the National Camogie League in 2016.

"It was a great feeling winning that, a great day. It was a wonderful experience to play in Div 1 and hopefully we'll get to experience that again next year."

In order to do that Meath must defeat Kerry in the final on Sunday 16th April in Croke Park and manager Brendan Skehan will be aiming to help his team can do just that. His side have done enough to win four games from five but he feels they can be better.

"They haven't been firing on all cylinders, we had one good performance against Westmeath, played against Kerry already (which they lost in Trim) so we know what they can bring," said Skehan.

"We're looking forward to the final because in that game in Trim they basically ran riot against us in the second-half so I think our girls have a burning desire to meet them again. So I'm really looking forward to that game, the final, and I know the players are too."

Skehan talked of how a slew of new players have been brought into the panel this year. When that happens results can fluctuate. However, Meath have shown an unyielding consistency that has brought them to the cusp of a divisional title and promotion (only one team go up).

"I knew, at the start of the year, there would be a lot of changes but if someone had told me then that we would be in a divisional final in Croke Park I would have been thrilled. Now that we are there I am thrilled," he added.

Meath coach and selector Dave Dunning had no doubt about the reason why Meath withstood sustained late Derry pressure and won. It was because of the team's "composure."

He knows a lot more of that will be needed if the Kingdom are to be beaten on the big stage.