Sunday 17 December 2017

Camogie concerns

It's a concern to note the current happenings with both the adult county camogie and ladies football teams in Wicklow.

Before people jump on the bandwagon it must be said that there are currently many positive developments attached to both of these organisations within the county. In particular, it's well documented that ladies football is one of the fastest growing sports in Ireland.

Also the numbers playing camogie in Wicklow have stabilised and the recent introduction of new camogie clubs in Arklow and Carnew are a major addition. I know both organisations will be seriously concerned over recent developments with both their flagship teams.

Let me say straightaway that I know both of these associations are severely challenged by having very limited funding and this can seriously curtail appropriate preparation of county teams.

With regard to the ladies football team the delay in appointing a manager has been well documented. I'm not aware of the full details in relation to this appointment, however, I feel the matter could have be handled differently with greater levels of communication by all parties and that players at this level should have been better informed.

Maybe appropriate steps should have been taken at the end of last season even if it meant organising matters on a temporary basis. A huge effort by all involved had previously been witnessed and this tremendous effort resulted in their excellent Junior All-Ireland success and that never to be forgotten day in Croke Park for that team.

What should have been a huge launching pad for future development now seems to have been missed. Their two recent heavy League defeats will make that All-Ireland success seem like a distant memory for the squad.

Hopefully the new management team can make up for the lost time and the panel of selected players will row in behind them. It's going to be a big challenge but they certainly have enough quality players to overcome their delayed preparations.

I've heard that the Camogie County Board are considering whether or not the adult county team will participate at inter county level this year. I know that a very capable and experienced management team consisting of former county hurler David Moran, Glenealy's Anna Manley and Knockananna's Mary Byrne was put in place.

A number of training sessions and meetings were arranged by the new management team but unfortunately for various reasons there was a very disappointing response from selected players.

I feel that in order for any county team to perform and for it to be a meaningful and beneficial operation it is necessary to have at least 85% of a county's top players fully committed to the team.

This, in my opinion, has not happened in Wicklow camogie on far too many occasions. Thankfully there are many quality camogie players in Wicklow and a prime example of this was the excellence of players on view in last year's county final between Knockananna and Glenealy.

There are many dedicated county players in Wicklow (but not enough of them) and should the team be withdrawn it will be a major disappointment to these players. I feel strongly that players who are not of the necessary standard to play at inter county level should not be exposed or exploited at this level.

If insufficient quality players are unavailable then the Camogie Board should seriously consider their participation. Any funding that may be saved by the teams possible withdrawal should be redirected into coaching underage teams at both club and county level. There is currently a very strong U-14 Camogie Development Squad and this squad would seriously benefit from any additional support.

The issue of dual players in ladies football and camogie is also currently a concern for both county teams. The long inter-county season especially in football obstructs dual players' participation in both codes and this has put additional demands on some of Wicklow's most accomplished dual players such as Lucy Mulhall, Laura Hogan and Aine Byrne.

Times are difficult for all sporting teams in the county especially with lack of funding and the problems associated with emigration but hopefully both the ladies football and camogie organisations will continue to work hard and co-operate with each other going forward to ensure that any problems will be meaningfully addressed.

Wicklow People

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