Official Website of the Camogie Association

The Camogie Association announce the 2023 Very Camogie Leagues

Fri 17th Feb

Gill Waters


The Camogie Association are delighted to launch the 2023 Very Camogie Leagues this weekend with our long-term sponsors Very (formerly Littlewoods Ireland.)  Very is encouraging fans and new followers to attend and support their county at games across the country this year in the led up to the final to be held in Croke Park.

Division 1A of the Very Camogie Leagues is kicking off on Saturday 18th February, with Cork taking on Dublin in MTU Cork. Tipperary challenging 2022 Division 1 winners Galway in The Ragg, Thurles and on Sunday Clare go head-to-head with Kilkenny in Cusack Park, Ennis.

Camogie’s inter-county season gets under way in the traditional manner, but much has changed since the conclusion of the last campaign.  On the pitch, there will be changes in management and playing line-ups, with a new structure being trialled in a bid to provide more competitive games within each division, while separating second teams from first teams.

There is promotion and relegation between Divisions 1A, 1B, 2A and 3A involving the first teams, with the winners making the step up and the bottom team in each division dropping down.

There is no promotion from Division 2B involving the second teams from Cork, Galway, Kilkenny, Tipperary and Wexford but the bottom team will be relegated to Division 3B, the other tier for second teams and from which the winner of Antrim, Clare, Down, Dublin, Limerick and Offaly will be promoted.

Divisions 1A, 1B and 2A all comprise six teams that all play one another, providing five group games before a final, which will involve the top two in the table.

Division 3A has eight teams in two groups of four, with the top two in each group competing in Division 3 semi-finals and the bottom two competing in Division 4 semi-finals. The winners of Division 3A will be promoted. There is no promotion for the winners of Division 4.

Brian Dowling leads Kilkenny into 2023 as All-Ireland champions, but as he says, “we’re back at the bottom of the mountain again” and the battle for new honours begins.

Dowling has stewarded his native county to two All-Ireland triumphs, and he also was in charge when the Cats bagged Division 1 League honours in 2021.

“I love the League structure,” says Dowling. “We were looking for more games and we’ve got that so it’s brilliant. It will be very competitive this year, no doubt about it. 

It’s going to be a lot tougher. It’s good, there’ll be more competitive games. You’re trying to find new players and the only way you find them is playing them against the big teams to find out more about them.

If you lose one or two of the first games, you’re in relegation trouble straight away so there’ll be more pressure than before and maybe that’s a good thing.”

The squad news is significant.

“Mary O’Connell is gone travelling to Australia so she won’t be part of the panel this year but we have Kellyann Doyle and (her sister) Aoife Doyle will be back,” Dowling adds.

“Kellyann will play some part of the League; Aoife will probably be back for the Leinster Championship I’d say so to have to two of them back will be great. And everybody else is back available. Our focus is to get confidence and get things up and running, try new players and try to win. No team wants to start on the back foot and put themselves under pressure. We want to try and win every game, but the main thing is to be very competitive and find new players to be in good shape for the Championship.

Seamus Kelly is the new Intermediate Manager and he has come in as a selector with the seniors. I wanted to have a link there, I thought that was important. We value the intermediate highly. The likes of Tiffanie Fitzgerald played intermediate two years ago which gave her huge confidence. She pushed on last year and played in an All-Ireland final so hopefully we’ll get a few players from that avenue this year.”

It as a case of so near and yet so far away for Matthew Twomey in his maiden season as Cork manager last year, having stepped up from the assistant’s position to fill the vacancy left by Paudie Murray.

The Rebels reached the Division 1 decider, but were overhauled in the final quarter by Galway before falling just a point short to Kilkenny in the All-Ireland final.

“In the League last year, there was only the three games before the final and we probably didn’t get enough out of it as a result. We were still raw going into that so this year is great with the five games, five tough games. We’re happy to have that.

We’d 13 girls involved in the Ashbourne so we haven’t an awful lot done but the five games will be a great help, we should learn a lot. We want to be tested as we go as there’s a change in the coaching side of things, the hurling and the S&C and we’ll have a new style of play so we want to test that as much as we can.”

Twomey explains: “Liam Cronin is back in as coach, having been involved a few years ago. He was with the Dublin hurlers the last two years and was with Clare too and it’s brilliant to have him with us. Wesley O’Brien, who would have been involved with us in 2015 and 2016 is doing S&C. He’s fantastic and I’m delighted to have him.

“We just want to take it on another step from last year. We don’t want to be the bridesmaids and just want to develop our game another bit to help us go to that next level.  We’re down three players definitely with ACLs – Ashling Thompson, Katie O’Mahony, Olivia McAllen – and then, at the weekend playing for UCC, Ciara O’Sullivan suffered a suspected ACL. At the end of last year, we brought in Aoife Healy and Orlaith Cahalane from the minors and they’re fantastic. But we’re still looking as we’re tight enough for numbers to make up a panel.

I was talking to our captain Amy O’Connor, and she doesn’t have a League medal and for Cork, that’s a bit unusual, so it would be great to win it. With Ashbourne and four dual players, it can be difficult, while we will be looking at as many players as possible, but we will be trying to win every game along the way.”

Catherine O’Toole, Head of Marketing at Very stated: “We are excited for this weekend’s launch of the Very Camogie Leagues, which will be our seventh year as title sponsor. This year is extra special as we unveil our updated identity for this partnership as part of our recent rebrand to Very from Littlewoods Ireland and we are also thrilled to announce the renewal of our partnership with the Camogie Association.

We are committed to continuing to support women in sport and strive to inspire not just supporters and fans, but encourage new followers to get behind the sport and the players in the lead up to what I am sure will be an electrifying and competitive battle to the finals in Croke Park.”

Hilda Breslin, Uachtarán Cumann Camógaíochta stated:

“We are really looking forward to the start of the Very Camogie Leagues 2023. Each year we see new players emerge and upsets occur with this year’s new structures adding an extra competitiveness and excitement, no match can be missed. Those lucky enough to reach the finals and Croke Park will have earned their place in tough battles across our counties. 

We are delighted to once again have Very as our title sponsor and thank them for their continued support and wonderful promotion of our game.

We look forward to hearing and seeing our supporters drive their teams on across the Very Camogie Leagues – don’t miss out.”

Weekend fixtures:

Division 1A:

Date Throw-in Team 1 Team 2 Venue Referee
19/02/2022 12:00 pm Clare Kilkenny Cusack Park Ennis Ray Kelly
18/02/2023 2:00 pm Cork Dublin MTU Cork Liz Dempsey
18/02/2023 2:00 pm Tipperary Galway The Ragg Andy Larkin

*Cork v Dublin will stream live on Camogie You Tube HERE

Division 1B:

Date Throw-in Team 1 Team 2 Venue Referee
18/02/2023 2:00 pm Antrim Down Portglenone Gavin Donegan
18/02/2023 2:00 pm Wexford Limerick Chadwicks Wexford Park Cathal McAllister
18/02/2023 2:00 pm Offaly Waterford St. Brendans Park Birr Justin Heffernan


Division 2A:

Date Throw-in Team 1 Team 2 Venue Referee
18/02/2023 1:00 pm Derry Cavan Lavey Barry Nea
18/02/2023 2:00 pm Kerry Westmeath Fitzgerald Stadium Killarney Aaron Hogg
18/02/2023 2:00 pm Laois Meath Mountrath Fintan McNamara


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