The incoming President of the Camogie Association, Catherine Neary, has said that she favours the creation of One Association for the family of Gaelic Games while retaining Camogie’s unique identity.
Catherine Neary was speaking this afternoon after her installation as Camogie Association President for a three-year term at the Association’s Annual Congress in Croke Park.
“The One Association remains on the agenda, which the Camogie Association (CA), the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) and the GAA have all officially recognised as a desired eventuality. In this context, the shared sponsorships with Liberty Insurance and AIB have increased the working relationship between the CA and GAA.
“We have come a long way on the issue but there’s a lot still to do. I am in favour of working closer together and integrating. My background is a family that was steeped in the GAA. I didn’t see a difference growing up between hurling and Camogie. It being Kilkenny, there was no big ball but I always enjoyed watching football. My club is James Stephen’s though they didn’t have a Camogie team. When the club was mentioned, we knew who everyone was talking about. So for me it is a natural direction of travel.”
Catherine Neary emphasized that integration should not be confused with assimilation.
“I think it’s important that Camogie keeps its own identity as well but it’s a matter of thinking about it, sitting down and working together, looking at where we have commonality. We have commonalities in terms of many of our administrative functions but we also have commonalities around the challenges to players surrounding fixtures and players playing more than one sport.
“There has been an issue of dual players for many years in GAA even though those numbers have become smaller over the years, but in Camogie there are a number of dual players with football, soccer and other sports. It’s about finding the best way we can work together for the good of Camogie and the players involved.”
Catherine Neary said that further progress in this area is one of her key targets, with the One Club model becoming more prevalent around the country providing an obvious template. There are a number of other areas she hopes to see further development in by the time her term comes to a conclusion.
“There are some changes coming on board with the legislation around child protection and that will take its natural course but I think as an Association, along with the GAA, we must make sure we have the proper support structures in place for people so there’s no fear or concerns around this,” Catherine Neary concluded.