It’s the festive season and certainly clubs and counties are getting in the mood. Many are hosting medal presentations and dinners to honour the achievements of 2009. I’ve had the great pleasure of being part of several of these in recent weeks. These have included visits to:
ò Castletara GAA and Camogie Awards (Cavan)
ò Fr. O’Neills GAA and Camogie Awards (Cork)
ò Wexford Camogie Awards
ò Galway Camogie Awards
ò Kildare GAA Awards
ò Cork 96 FM Sports Awards.
Into the New Year, the celebrations continue including the:
ò Offaly Camogie Awards
ò Derry Camogie Awards
ò Johnstownbridge (Kildare)GAA, Camogie and Ladies Football Awards and
ò The Harps Camogie Awards (Laois).
I’ve had many other invitations which are greatly appreciated. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to attend as many as I would like to. The social side of these occasions is invaluable. So too is the opportunity to affirm the excellent work that’s goes on continuously at grassroots level. It is also a great opportunity to meet informally with players and volunteers and to listen and respond to people’s issues and ideas.
Congratulations to Cashel, Athenry, Lavey and St. Anne’s who competed in the recent All Ireland Club Finals. The weather meant that conditions were anything but Camogie-friendly. This didn’t inhibit the desire for All Ireland glory or the wonderful skill of the players!
We are indebted to two GAA clubs for their marvellous facilities. Clarecastle GAA hosted their first ever All Ireland Final when Cashel and Athenry crossed hurleys last week . Donaghmore/Ashbourne GAA got two consecutive All Irelands as they also host the replay for the All Ireland Junior title. The playing surface in both venues was outstanding and a credit to all concerned.
Here’s a few things to watch out for in 2010:
ò The introduction of a new All Ireland and Provincial Intermediate Camogie Club championship – following on from the undoubted success of the Senior and Junior competitions. Further details later.
ò The Gala All Ireland Senior Championship reverting to a one group round robin championship – semi finals will be based on an open draw of the top four finishers.
ò The Division 5 League and Mßire NÝ ChinnÚide Cup competitions will no longer be one day blitzes. Instead teams will compete in two groups for the All Ireland Championship title. Group games are on a one round league basis. For the semis, winners of Group 1 play runners up of Group 2; winners of Group 2 play runners up Group 1.
ò Our new Strategic Development Plan – to put in place the future direction of the Camogie Association will be launched.
ò An updated and revised version An Treoir Oifigi·il (Official Guide) will be published. Love it or hate it, the æRule Book’ is a vital tool in the governance and administration of Camogie and the Camogie Association. During the year, a serious amount of work has been undertaken to ensure that our rules and procedures reflect best practice in the way we do our business. First the revised draft will issue for consultation and feedback; following that further revisions may be required at which point, ratification will then be sought from a Special Congress (date to be agreed). The revisions focus on the administration and governance rather than the playing rules. The playing rules may be revised every three years only and were considered at the 2009 Congress.
ò More Camogie promotion at local, national and international levels.
As well as many functions and County Conventions running currently, one of the more athletic events was Camogie’s participation in the GAA Handball Showdown, held to mark the GAA 125th anniversary. Tony Hannan, Handball President, Christy Cooney, GAA President, Geraldine Giles Past President Ladies Football and I played an æexhibition’ game in Croke Park. It was great fun and it brought home to me how skilful handball is and how complementary it is to the hand and eye co-ordination skills of Camogie. Several Camogie stars including Mags Darcy, Cathriona Foley, Katie McAuley, Aislinn Connolly and Mairead Morrissey demonstrated this much better than me! Thoroughly recommend some off-season training in the handball court to all!
In various other ways, the Camogie Association at local and national has marked or contributed to the very successful GAA 125th Anniversary. Likewise the GAA continues to acknowledge and include Camogie in its celebrations.
Two important and recent publications to mark this special year are such examples:
ò The GAA: A People’s History by Mike Cronin, Mark Duncan and Paul Rouse (published by Collins Press) and
ò The Evolution of the GAA Ulaidh,Eire agus Eile by D¾nall McAnallen, David Hassan and Roddy Hegarty (published by the Ulster Historical Foundation)
include historical accounts and many previously unpublished photographs of Camogie since its foundation in 1904. Both books are excellently produced and recommended for the Xmas gift list!
Finally, may I wish everybody in Camogie and in Gaelic Games a happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year. We can look back on a year of great success with more players, more clubs, more teams, more competitions than ever before. That didn’t happen by accident but by the vision, work and commitment of Camogie people, both voluntary and paid, up and down the country and overseas. I thank you for that effort and loyalty and for your personal support and kindness to me in the inaugural year of my Presidency.
I very much look forward to building on the progress we’ve made. Let’s continue to work to ensure that as many as possible get the opportunity to enjoy the passion, sport and rich skill of our game.
Siobhßn NÝ Fhloinn
MÝ na Nollag 2009