By Daragh Ó Conchúir
The silverware on offer to the winner of the AIB All-Ireland Senior Club Championship Final in Croke Park on Sunday will have a new name but it will be in the form of an addition, rather than a replacement.
Bill Carroll presented the cup anonymously and it was only after he died that the trophy took on his name.
Now though, he will be joined by his late wife to be remembered annually on one of the biggest days of the camogie calendar, when the Bill and Agnes Carroll Cup will be on offer.
This rededication comes as a result of an approach by the Carrolls’ daughter Ann to the Camogie Association, who were very receptive to the idea.
Ann has a relationship with the AIB All-Ireland Club Championship that almost spans the entire history of this beloved level of competition.
The Senior championship was established in 1964, six years before football and hurling followed suit, and Carroll played on the winning team the following season, as St Patrick’s Ballingarry Glengoole won the first of a two-in-a-row.
Prior to that, she had played her club camogie with Cahir and will be cheering them on in the Intermediate decider.
Bill grew weary of ferrying the large contingent to Cahir and so established St Patrick’s.
“We were only together two years but we never lost a match and won two All-Ireland Clubs” Ann recalls.
After Bill’s retirement, the family moved to Kilkenny. So Ann joined St Paul’s and starred as they won three All-Irelands in a row from 1968, scoring seven points in the 1969 decider. That established a record for an individual of five AIB All-Ireland senior club medals that has yet to be improved on.
She won two inter-county All-Irelands with Kilkenny too but the club championship holds a special place in her heart because of her parents’ dedication. Having Agnes’ name on the trophy now will seem particularly apt on Mother’s Day.
“To be fair, what I noticed in recent years was that on the original cup, there was a cap on it and the cap was missing and it was annoying me because I felt the cup didn’t look right. I felt then that I would like to give another one but I thought 50 years would be a good time to bring in a new cup.
“So I started the idea about three years ago. We worked on it, we’ve got it and I’m very pleased with it.
“Originally my father gave it anonymously. After he died, Croke Park called it the Bill Carroll Cup. My mother died only seven years ago and both of them were very, very involved in camogie, particularly in club matches and the club championship, so I felt it appropriate to have it in memory of both of them.”