Saturday 26 May 2018

An All Star cast for an All Star show

2017 Liberty Insurance Camogie All-Star Game, Estadio Central, Universidad Complutense Madrid, Spain 30/11/2017
The victorious 2016 All-Star team
Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
2017 Liberty Insurance Camogie All-Star Game, Estadio Central, Universidad Complutense Madrid, Spain 30/11/2017 The victorious 2016 All-Star team Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Jack O'Toole

Staff and players hugged each other at baggage collection in Dublin Airport's terminal 2 as the inaugural Liberty Insurance All Stars tour had come to an end.

The exhibition match at Hortaleza Rugby club may have ended in a one-sided drubbing, with the 2016 All Stars cruising to a 10-13 to 7-8 win over their 2017 counterparts, but the match served as the centrepiece of a four-day tour that saw visits to Liberty Seguros offices, the Irish Ambassador's residence as well as the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Bernabeu and Hortaleza Rugby club could not have been more stark in their differences. Everything in the Bernabeu is designed to generate revenue. €25 for a tour, €5 for an additional audio guide, €18 for a photo with the Champions League trophy, €112 for a replica jersey.

By contrast, the Hortaleza Rugby club is a small and homely venue. It's not the size of a ground or clubhouse that counts, it's the people that roam around inside that make the difference.

And the people inside the Hortaleza Rugby club last Thursday could not have been kinder or more generous with their time. Mark and JJ from the Madrid Harps were ecstatic with the Liberty Insurance All Stars visit.

The pair acted as hosts, dinner guests and even umpires, as the Madrid Harps were the chief benefactors of a tour that was designed to promote the game of Camogie and celebrate the achievements of its players.

Irish Ambassador Síle Maguire certainly acknowledged their achievements when she hosted the touring party at her residence in the plush Calle de Castelló part of the city.

Ambassador Maguire commended the players for their service and their commitment to their counties while the players got the chance to let their hair down and socialise with one another, an interaction that is not often possible during the height of the intercounty season.

2017 Liberty Insurance Camogie All-Star Game, Estadio Central, Universidad Complutense Madrid, Spain 30/11/2017
The victorious 2016 All-Star team
Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
2017 Liberty Insurance Camogie All-Star Game, Estadio Central, Universidad Complutense Madrid, Spain 30/11/2017 The victorious 2016 All-Star team Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Wexford’s All Star camogie trio Kate Kelly, Sarah O’Connor and Shelley Kehoe after the exhibition game in Madrid
2017 Liberty Insurance Camogie All-Star Game, Estadio Central, Universidad Complutense Madrid, Spain 30/11/2017 Niamh Mulcahy, Aisling Maher and Michaela Markan after the game Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
2017 Liberty Insurance Camogie All-Star Game, Estadio Central, Universidad Complutense Madrid, Spain 30/11/2017 Aisling Thompson and Aoife Donohue after the game Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
2017 Liberty Insurance Camogie All-Star Game, Estadio Central, Universidad Complutense Madrid, Spain 30/11/2017 Referee Eoin Elliot with Colette Dormer, Catherine Foley, Meighan Farrell, Katie Power, Emma Kavanagh, Anne Dalton and Miriam Walshe after the game Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
2017 Liberty Insurance Camogie All-Star Game, Estadio Central, Universidad Complutense Madrid, Spain 30/11/2017 Tara Kenny, Rebecca Hennelly, Sarah Dervan, Ailish O'Reilly and Aoife Donohue after the game Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
2017 Liberty Insurance Camogie All-Star Game, Estadio Central, Universidad Complutense Madrid, Spain 30/11/2017 2017 Team's Ailish O'Reilly with Rebecca Hennelly of the 2016 Team Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
2017 Liberty Insurance Camogie All-Star Game, Estadio Central, Universidad Complutense Madrid, Spain 30/11/2017 2017 Team Manager Paudy Murray speaks to the players ahead of the game Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
2017 Liberty Insurance Camogie All-Star Game, Estadio Central, Universidad Complutense Madrid, Spain 30/11/2017 2016 Team's Miriam Walshe with Tara Kenny of the 2017 Team Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Liberty Insurance Camogie All-Stars Madrid Office Visit, Liberty Seguros Paseo de la Doce Estrellas, Madrid. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
2017 Liberty Insurance Camogie All-Star Game, Estadio Central, Universidad Complutense Madrid, Spain 30/11/2017 2017 Team vs 2016 Team 2017 Team's Ailish O'Reilly with Anne Dalton of the 2016 Team Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

It may take a long time for Camogie to take off in Madrid but this trip was about celebrating the players and their achievements, the game's best players will take their experiences back to their counties, experiences that they won't forget.

Online Editors

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