Croydon Camogie Club’ Guinness World Record Title
Croydon Camogie Club set themselves a massive challenge to play a continuous camogie match for 24 + hours on the 23rd /24th August 2008. To some this seemed an impossible task but to others it was a brilliant plan, albeit a somewhat scary one.
A huge amount of organisation went into preparing for this challenge and the personnel involved, stretched beyond the players on the pitch and beyond the club itself. Many London camogie clubs, hurling and football clubs and relatives, friends and acquaintances of the club members, volunteered their services for the weekend, thus enabling the organisers to draft up a comprehensive timetable detailing the times people were required for their various roles. The Stewards, Witnesses and Medical personnel were allocated 4 hour shifts and the referees and umpires were allocated 2 hour shifts. Tribute must be paid to all the volunteers who turned up to report for duty before their shift was due to start and everybody remained true to the commitment they had made. The club is indebted to all the volunteers who turned up at various times throughout the challenge and many who were there for the entire event. Their involvement meant all the official details were in good hands and the players could concentrate on the massive endurance test they were undertaking.
The teams were named Croydon Magpies and Croydon Exiles and were 7 aside with 3 subs available to each team. Each panel was made up of 10 players. At 10:17am on Saturday morning Beano Collins threw in the ball. To those of us watching, the pace seemed a little fast for the start of a marathon, but the girls needed to adjust to the idea of slowing down a game that is normally played at great speed. This adjustment took a little time but eventually they managed to steady the pace. However, instinctive play was very hard to resist and the competitive nature of the game was very evident throughout. The weather was ideal and the atmosphere was excitedly expectant. There was a buzz that could be explained by pride, anticipation and an element of disbelief that we were actually doing this, even 4 hours into the challenge. The physios had a little work to do after 4 hours but nothing major or dramatic. At this stage the players were still enjoying the game and it felt as though time was moving along nicely.
At 7:30pm the challenge was over 9 hours old and it started to feel like something big was already achieved. The scores were clocking up and everyone appeared very relaxed and confident that nothing was going to stop us achieving our goal. The daylight was disappearing so the floodlights had to be illuminated. The view emanating from the floodlights created a surreal atmosphere but yet it all felt really normal. The spirit and determination on the pitch and along the sidelines was really positive and everyone was simply getting on with their tasks – as players, stewards, witnesses, referees, and medics.
By 10:17pm on Saturday night there was jubilation that we had reached the half way mark towards achieving a World record. The announcement brought a renewed vigour to the tired bodies and minds both on and off the pitch.
The weather at this point was mild but it was getting chilly.
3am on Sunday morning and it looked like all dreams could be shattered. Torrential rain soaked the tired participants and conditions were far from ideal. This spell brought a new challenge to the occasion – players now had to battle the unfavourable weather as well as mental and physical tiredness. The rain was so heavy it was actually difficult for the sideline staff to see individuals on the pitch. The torrential rain eased but the showers continued to fall for the rest of the challenge with only a few dry spells. The length of time that had passed combined with the adverse conditions meant it was going to be inevitable that there would be some casualties and by 5am the magpies were left with a panel of 9. Both teams suffered a couple casualties in those early hours but the consensus of all concerned was to continue for the record.
And so it was – the challenge went on, daylight was returning and spirits were lifting. At 10:24 on Sunday morning Niall Murphy blew the final whistle to signify completion of the World Record attempt and achievement of a Guinness World Record.
The final score was Magpies 247-236 Exiles227-232.
No single word could describe the atmosphere when the final whistle was blown. However, the following array of words should give some indication – Emotional, Jubilant, Proud, Exhausted, Relieved, Disbelief, Ouch!!! And Yes!!!.
The commitment, camaraderie, spirit and determination of everyone involved made it possible to make this dream a reality. It was a truly amazing achievement and those girls deserve their place in the 2010 Guinness Book of records which is being launched on September 17th.
This is a fantastic achievement for the game of Camogie and the quest of the overseas players to keep the game alive.
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