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Outgoing Camogie Association President, Aileen Lawlor, will today highlight the incredible growth in participation in the sport in her speech at the Association’s Annual Congress at Croke Park.
The Uachtarán will point out that the number of clubs registered with the Camogie Association has grown by a phenomenal 23% over the past 10 years with 10 new clubs established in 2014. Aileen Lawlor will say that there are many other strong indicators of growth in participation in the sport.
“There are now over 750 Camogie coaches trained at different levels in Ireland and abroad and last year the inaugural Level Two Coaching Course was completed. Internationally Camogie continues to grow with the number of teams taking part in our North American Continental Youth Championships increasing from one in 2010 to 13 last year.”
Another indicator of growth that Aileen Lawlor is particularly proud of is the number of female inter county referees – a key target she set herself when took over as Camogie Association President in 2012.
“In 2013 we set up a referees’ academy to identify male and female referees and give them a clear pathway to the top echelons. With the national referees’ committee offering invaluable guidance, there are now 13 female referees on the national panel as against one in 2012. Indeed, all of the officials at last September’s Junior All-Ireland Final were female. This increase is reflected at club level too.”
Aileen Lawlor attributes the growth in participation to Camogie to the great work at club level and in the schools as well as the much higher profile the sport has achieved over recent years. In this context, she acknowledges the key role played by AIB and Liberty Insurance in sponsoring the Camogie Championships.
“This was a huge leap forward for our game. The increased PR through all forms of media has been instrumental in getting our name and the Camogie brand into the public domain. Increased pr means our players are more recognizable to the public than ever before. Our players deserve that promotion. They are just as much the athlete as their hurling counterparts are – putting in just as much time and training as them, juggling family, studies and careers to play Camogie. So this increased awareness of them has been revolutionary.”
Referring to her own experience of getting involved in Camogie at eight years of age, Aileen Lawlor says she wasn't aware at that age that there was a Camogie President.
“Nowadays, children even younger than that are aware of our game. That’s because there is so much PR around the game but also because Camogie is played in more primary and secondary schools now than there was then and our presence is more visible in schools. Critically, the link between schools and clubs has been strengthened and one of my hopes for the future is that every school player will be encouraged to link up with her nearest club.”
Another significant development that Aileen Lawlor points to in the recent development of the Camogie Association is the decision made in 2013 to introduce individual membership.
“It was a known fact that as a national association, we only generated 10% of our income from affiliations. The association relied heavily on outside grants to develop and grow and to run off our fixtures. This was not satisfactory nor was it sustainable. The successful introduction of individual membership is now providing us with the platform from which we can continue to grow our great game,” Aileen Lawlor concluded.

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