President’s Blog: September 2011
What a whirlwind in September! To date we have enjoyed four fantastic All Ireland finals; three in Croke Park and one needing a re-match to settle the outcome. Armagh and Westmeath couldn’t be separated for the Nancy Murray Cup a fortnight ago.
Wexford on the double, and Waterford winning the first title, made no mistakes. Crowned as 2011 champions, the south-east certainly made its mark.
Congratulations to all the teams who reached the ultimate stages of our premier competitions and thank you for fantastic sporting entertainment and wonderful support.
There always seems to speculation and interest about how many will attend the All Ireland finals of the female codes. Building a following for Camogie takes time and we’re making steady progress. This year, like last year, our support has been strong throughout the season with good attendances at round games and especially at semi final stages. That’s crucial to creating a long-term audience for the sport. Our All Ireland Final attendance was the best attended female sports event that weekend in Europe so that’s no small boast.
Creating public interest
Media coverage is crucial to promoting public interest in women’s sport. Internationally, media coverage of women’s sport remains at ten per cent of the total. In Ireland we could do better on this front. Here’s an interesting figure. Recent Irish analysis showed that of 6,503 photos of sports people in six national newspapers, only 78 (1.2 per cent) were photos of sports women. The same analysis showed that in the five years of the research, women’s sports photos reached a peak of only three per cent.
More coverage creates more interest. Imagine what the Rugby World Cup would be at the moment if it only got 10 per cent of the coverage and 1.2 per cent of the pics!
It is fantastic to get extensive air time and column inches in September when the All Ireland Finals come round. This helps to drive the promotion and development of women’s sports and shows our great games and top stars. But the challenge is to secure that on a consistent basis.
Happily, Camogie’s profile is going from strength to strength – in the national press, radio and TV and of course at local level too. This is in large part due to proactive work of our public relations team – full time and voluntary – across the country. Part of it too is an increasingly responsive media who appreciate more and more the sporting entertainment and action that Camogie offers.
The club championships, currently in full swing, are an ideal platform for promoting the game to the local media. Local papers and radio are fantastic supporters of sport. The club championships are a brilliant opportunity to get the message out there and to strive for more coverage, particularly for County and Provincial finals. The journey to Croke Park for club teams has already started and March 2012 will be destination for two intermediate teams and two senior teams vying for All Ireland glory. Equally important, the All Ireland Junior Club Final will be held in November.
Midst all the September activity, let not the month pass without remembering in our thoughts and prayers the Coyles Family in Ballycastle, Co. Antrim on the passing of Karen. Camogie was a huge part of Karen’s life and she had a lifelong involvement with us at so many levels. The Antrim Camogie community has shown tremendous support and solidarity over the past number of weeks to Karen’s family and club. Karen’s loss will be sadly felt by a large circle of friends and, of course, most felt by her father, sisters and extended family. Ar dheis DÚ go raibh a h-anam.
MÚan Fomhair 2011