An elite gathering of Colleges Camogie players took place on Tuesday evening in New Inn but not in relation to the playing of the game. These 2nd level students were being presented with their referee credentials after participating in a pilot programme run by the Camogie Association.
The Green C.A.R.D programme is specificly designed for Second Level senior students. The Colleges Applied Referee Development has been a work in progress for the last year with Jennifer Steede, 2nd level Development Officer heading the project and with major input from the National Referee Committee and support from Liz Howard, President of the association and Mary O’Connor, Director of Camogie.
29 students from Connacht received an extensive theory based course from Una Kearney, Chairperson of the National Referee Committee, in Presentation College Athenry, at the start of the month. All areas of refereeing were covered with special emphasis on good control of matches. They learned how to deal with issues such as disputes and controversy as well as increasing their confidence and self-esteem in their judgement and approach to refereeing. These young ladies are now qualified Green Carders, entitled to referee matches up to U.14 grades.
They will be mentored by their teachers and club personnel and should receive support and encouragement from all parents and supporters on the side-line as emphasised by Sinead Dunne, Chairperson of Connacht Colleges at the presentation.
Geraldine McGrath, Chairperson Of Galway County Board and Vice President of the Association spoke of the great strides colleges camogie has taken in Connacht this year and stressed the importance of continuing to promote a closer working relationship between colleges, clubs and the county board as more often than not they compliment and benefit each other.
Special guest, Galway Captain, Sinead Cahalan fresh from Saturday’s Gael Linn win, was impressed with the large numbers participating in this pilot project and spoke of her delight in recognising many of the camogie players who were now expanding their expertise to refereeing.
It is a hidden maxim of the camogie associationà’to give back to the clubs and schools who support you’ à and these young ladies are grasping this opportunity to give back to their club and school coaches who dedicate so much of their spare time to the development of young teams. æIt is an honour to be a referee’, Dermot Connolly, inter-county referee high-lighted. He was delighted to see a formal structure put in place to recruit and train young referees.
Jennifer Steede is hoping to distribute the finalised Green C.A.R.D. course on a nationwide basis in the new school year and has received a very positive reaction from teachers, students and officials. æThis course is a major step forward in school/club development and at a time when referees are few and far between, these new juvenile referees will be welcomed greatly. They have already been put through their paces at school and county blitzes and encouraging reports have been received’
This course will be continue to be delivered to Connacht Colleges and will take place again in the autumn. Presentations were also made this week to students in Carrignavar and Coachford, Co. Cork while students in Cahir will be receive their credentials during the week.
Participating schools: St. Killian’s New Inn, Presentation College Athenry, Holy Rosary College Mountbellew, Seamount Kinvara, Mercy Ballinasloe, Mercy Roscommon, Portumna C.S, Gort C.C.