SEVENTY-FIVE years ago Cork played in their first All Ireland senior camogie final in Croke Park. In more recent times the Red and White has appeared in the last eight deciders. On Sunday they were victorious for the fifth time since 2002. Clearly Cork is the current standard bearers for all other counties.
However, while Cork has been the dominant team of this decade, Camogie President Joan O’Flynn is quick to point out that the involvement of the traditionally strong counties on All Ireland day is a measure of the success of the championship.
“”We have had different finalists in the last four years – Kilkenny, Galway, Wexford and Tipperary. So, there you have genuine contenders, which illustrate the increasing strength in depth in standards across the counties. Dublin, Clare and Limerick have come up from the junior ranks to senior, and the future is promising for Clare having reached the 2008 and 2009 minor finals while Limerick won the All Ireland minor B title.””
Offaly’s achievement in winning the junior final makes them good enough to compete at intermediate level, while the defeated finalists Waterford are making great strides. They took part in the Munster senior championship this year coming up short by only a point to Cork – albeit the champions were minus a few of their better known names. Nonetheless, this will tell them if they continue to work hard, it will pay rich dividends.
O’Flynn commented, “”The high standards are broadening across a wider number of counties. Look at Kerry and Na Brideoga (Mayo) who won FÚile titles during the summer and it is only a matter of time before this progress is rewarded at adult level.
“”Roscommon won the Nancy Murray Cup for the first time, and O’Donovan Rossa from Antrim took their inaugural All Ireland senior club title last November. Cavan won the Junior Blitz which indicates great days are ahead for them.
“”The September showdown in Croke Park is the showcase of camogie. The speed and athleticism of the games are displayed, and another skill that featured on Sunday was aerial dominance and brilliant fielding.””
Camogie introduced a new innovation at this year’s final with winning Captain Amanda O’Regan being presented with her All Ireland medal on the Hogan steps. O’Flynn thought this worked very well, and she said the Camogie Association would definitely consider continuing with the idea.
The President during her first six months in office has visited 20 County Boards to date and has gone to the US and London to support various camogie developments. “”I can honestly say the interest, enthusiasm, energy, ideas and commitment to the game is outstanding. Next week I am looking forward to visiting Mayo and Derry County Boards.””