Ann Downey says there is no difference between managing men and women

Former Kilkenny camogie manager Ann Downey says there is no major differences between managing men and women.

The 2016 All-Ireland winning boss with the Cats made headlines earlier this year, when she was named as manager of the Ballyragget hurlers.

However, she was taken aback by the level of attention her move received.

“I had been involved with the lads before, but I was the coach, training them when we won the Minor B and Under 21 in 2011,” she explained, speaking as part of AIB’s The Toughest Summer series.

“Going in as manager what is the difference then? The ladies are equally, if not more skilful, than some of the hurlers. It is the same mindset, making sure that everything is right, that you have a good coach, you have the back-up team.

“I was more than surprised with the amount of coverage that it got, but I suppose back in 2011 there wasn’t that much media hype about ladies being involved with a team either as coach or manager. You can be sure that I’m not the first lady manager, only that maybe I had come from the camogie scene, and retired as manager of the camogie team that it got a little bit of attention.”

So is there a difference between training a hurling team rather than a camogie side?

“If you had to ask me that at the beginning of the year I’d have said no. If you asked me last night I’d have said yeah, that the ladies are easier to handle than the men,” she laughed.

“You know it is the same, you just have to organise, get yourself organised, try to make sure you are including everyone, that the training is going to be at a time that suits everyone. It doesn’t always happen, you might have to get a few words, get a guy to change his time or change his shift, that isn’t easy either. It is more or less the same to be quite honest.”

But when she announced her decision to leave the Kilkenny job last year, a swift return to management was far from her mind.

“To be honest, it wasn’t something I thought about after I finished the camogie. After I finished the camogie, I said I just need time to myself,” she outlined.

“I would have said maybe when I was involved in the 2011 U21 team, a very youthful team at the time, that was my opportunity or maybe that was my chance when it didn’t come I have to say I was disappointed. Obviously then when your parish come knocking, I wasn’t going to knock it on the head straight away.

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