Everybody in Camogie can be proud of the achievements of 2010. It was a fantastic year. It’s impossible to do justice to the year in this Blog but I want to acknowledge some key accomplishments including some notable æfirsts’!
Settling into our new offices in Jones’ Road and welcoming the Association’s first Director of Communications and Marketing, Claire Egan, were significant moments early in 2010.
Hosting the premier third level competitions – the Ashbourne and Purcell Cup and Shield Finals – together over one weekend was an early æfirst’ in 2010. The Committee of Comhairle Cam¾gaÝochta an Ard Oideachais (CCAO) under its then President Lynn Kelly and the local organising committee in the Cork Institute of Technology did a superb job.
The facilities and games were outstanding. I heard the æoff field’ fun was pretty good too! Standard is now set for the 2011 competition in NUIG!
The Association’s six year National Development Plan, Our Game Our Passion was ratified at the annual National Congress in Newbridge.
The Plan was developed by a very hard working Central Council sub-committee, under the chairmanship of Louise Byrne.
It signposts the future development of more clubs, competitions, coaches and referees, more people coming to our games, greater public profile and strong governance and organisational standards.
In Semple Stadium, Thurles, Wexford put everybody on notice by coveting back to back national league titles in Division 1 and Division 2 – another first! Laois and Tyrone get their name on the Division 3 and Division 4 league titles.
We were back in the meeting rooms for Special National Congress in Croke Park. This considered proposals to amend our governing instrument, the Official Guide or An Treoir Oifigi·il from a review group, again chaired by Louise Byrne.
Special Congress used e-voting for the first time and ratified several innovations including:
– helmets mandatory for all;
– a designated home club;
– new procedures to deal with transfers, hearing and disciplinary issues;
– age ranges for participation in competition;
– new procedures around player gradings;
– adoption of modified games for under 12 competition;
– designation that a player’s native county is automatically her county of
representation regardless of where she lives;
– new rules in relation to offences in games and abuse of referees and
– setting five years maximum service in any one administrative role and ten years in
Launch of Gala All Ireland championships. Great profile. Camogie TV is launched on our website.
Annual FÚile na nGael hugely successful in Clare with support of RDO and Clare native Deirdre Murphy, Orla Considine and Mary Hogan, Clare Camogie Board. Cillard from Kerry win their first national title at Division 4. Wonderful young players of future there.
VHI C·l Camps underway with more girls than ever getting opportunity to play Camogie for the first time.
Busy month. Gala All Ireland championships were active in the best playing conditions. Inaugural system of referees’ assessment introduced. County u14 Development Squads have a ball at annual activity day in Croke Park – one of the best days of the year!
Pioneering development work continues under the leadership of Ard Sti·rth¾ir Sinead O’Connor and Director of Camogie Mary O’Connor.
Over 20 new club start ups throughout the year including in Sligo, Mayo, Donegal, Wicklow, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, Galway, Westmeath.
New Coaching Plan adopted. Significant increase in number of Camogie coach tutors. New Player Pathway, launched at Congress, taking effect with new structure of supporting players from nursery to adult to off the field.
Competitive summer camogie for under 16s – they said it couldn’t be done. The inaugural Leinster under 16 inter county club tournament proved different. With the moniker æthe pink weekend’ in recognition of its support for the Marie Keating Foundation, Eve Talbot, Leinster Camogie Council and Thomas Davis Camogie club all combined to put on a great show. Intention in 2011 is for all Provinces to adopt the inter county interclub u16 model.
New Camogie acorns planted in the US and Britain. The annual Continental Youth Championships of Gaelic Games in Long Island incorporated underage Camogie for the first time. Players and teams from San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago, New Haven and a couple of new juvenile teams from New York take to the game with great gusto. Hope to build on this at 2011 Games in Boston. Our RDO and Galway senior star, Caroline Murray, starred in a refereeing role in all games!
Similarly across the pond, underage Camogie development squads commenced in London with lots of support from Jacqueline Thornton, Ronan McCarthy, Katie Forde and Rita McGrath.
Senior semi finals month. Two great games in Nowlan Park. Wexford best the locals Kilkenny. Cork and Galway produce a thriller that ends evens.
These were the best ever attended semi finals.
In Nenagh, Clare and Galway also produce a memorable game in the Gala All Ireland Minor Finals in front of another very big crowd. These teams couldn’t be separated either.
Both replays take to Semple Stadium. Galway do the double with minors winning their first All Ireland title.
Has to be the best month of the year every year.
Historic occasion as first time three All Ireland Camogie finals take centre stage in Croke Park. President McAleese watches as Wexford rejoice. Offaly take their first Intermediate title. Antrim overcome Waterford in replay.
There was excellent attendance and presentation of games on the big day. Great feedback and appreciation from 600 families and community leaders we invited from minority ethnic groups to join us on All Ireland Day as part of our work on social inclusion.
Young camogie and hockey players from St. Enda’s and Bredagh Camogie and Mossley Hill Hockey in Belfast also enjoyed All Ireland Finals Park as part of an interesting peace and reconciliation cross-community initiative.
We announced some money in October! Good news in the middle of a recession. Paula Bruen Finance Director passed on the good news to several counties who benefited from development grants from central funds. The monies will be used to support the implementation of our national development plan at county level.
The inaugural national meeting of County Chairs and Secretaries Network was held in Croke Park. This initiative is intended to strengthen the dialogue between key administrators at county and central level.
Congrats to Ireland on retaining Shinty title v Scotland. We were captained by Niamh Breen and managed by Tom O’Mahony (Kildare), Paul Ward (Monaghan) and Mary Connor (Louth). Amongst those wearing an Irish jersey it was great to see two Camogie personnel– well done Regina Gorman and Brid Boylan.
Great to see Development Committee established in Ulster.
This month is always deceptive. Expect it to be a bit quiet but not so.
The Presidents of the three Gaelic Associations – Camogie, Ladies Football and GAA jointly announced an initiative to explore the feasibility of a single administrative structure at local level to promote and develop all gaelic games. This æone club model’ is a strategic initiative that has the potential to benefit and strengthen all. An initial report is due in Spring 2011.
Camogie and Ladies Football Associations, also convened a joint meeting at central and Provincial level chaired by both Association Presidents. The meeting sought to co-ordinate fixtures planning. The Presidents of both Associations are also jointly writing to county boards in both codes urging them to co-ordinate at local level.
Highlight of the month, and maybe of the year though was the annual All Stars Dinner and Presentation. Truly memorable.
69 players nominated for awards and all ædressed to kill’.
The words and presence of special guest President Mc Aleese made everybody ten feet taller.
We acknowledged the life long contribution of Micheßl Ë Muircheartaigh. He told us he has watched 50 All Ireland Camogie Finals. He went to his first Camogie All Ireland to watch Dublin legend Kathleen Mills whom he called the Christy Ring of Camogie.
Inaugural Intermediate All Stars were presented along with the All Stars and Soaring Stars.
On the field action continued pre the snow! Jenny Duffy, Ger Gribben and Eve Talbot pulled off a huge Leinster Schools Blitz in Rathcoole under the auspices of Leinster Camogie and supported by Leinster GAA. Yvonne Byrne got several new Donegal players involved in Go Games. Four Roads claimed their first All Ireland Junior title.
The inaugural Provincial Intermediate club finals were held as a fore runner to the new All Ireland Intermediate club championship. The cup for this inaugural competition was named after Agnes O’ Farrelly, a Cavan woman who an exceptional activist in the Gaelic revival, a pioneering academic and nationalist and former President of the Camogie Association.
We also announced this and the All Ireland Senior Club Finals will be played as a double header in Croke Park on March 6th 2011 for the first time.
I’m delighted with this development. It gives club players the genuine aspiration of playing for one of the highest honours in the game in the best stadium in the country. It’s a shot in the arm for our premier club competitions.
There are not too many Camogie clubs that celebrate a golden jubilee so congrats to St. Ibar’s Shelmaliers on their special birthday which they marked in November.
We now have 5,000 facebook fans signed up, don’t forget to join the page.The Hope Foundation announced as offical charity partner of Camogie Association
These achievements – and there are more than are sketched here –are underpinned by tremendous commitment, ambition, talent and belief. We are lucky. Our membership and our full time staff combine into one team. We share the one passion – to expand the opportunities to play Camogie to the highest standards and to promote life long participation in our sport.
Of course there are areas we can improve on and we will. Let’s take inspiration, confidence and drive from our achievements in 2010, and as always, build on these, year on year, into the future.
If you’ve got this far in the Blog well done! I didn’t expect it to be so long!
For now though, its time to say a generous thank you for your support and hard work and I wish you and your family a very peaceful Christmas.
Come the New Year, hopefully there’ll be a lot less snow and some green grass and lengthening evenings and we can all get back out there enjoying ourselves between the white lines!
Le gach dea-ghuÝ i gcomhair na Nollag agus na h-ath bhliana!
Siobhßn NÝ Fhloinn