Every year has its difficulties and this was no different, while many issues surrounding team training and overlapping players and dual code players were dealt with, chairperson Orla Considine told delegates at this week’s county camogie convention.
“A feature of every county management report and briefing to executive when we met them has been the draw that is on girls and the frustration that this leads to when trying to prepare teams.
“This is an issue that has to be looked at seriously. No player can be expected to train four nights a week and play what could be two matches in a week. At county level, we are dealing with this by ensuring that all county teams will train on the same night of the week. This means that players who cross the age code cannot be asked to train different nights and with all age groups. Players will train with their age group and will train with the higher team in the lead-up to a game. This is the code that will be adopted and which we hope will protect the players. Clubs must also look at this, as players who are burnt out cannot be of benefit to any group and will not last in our game into the future,” she said.
“This is never more important than it is now, with the climate that we find ourselves in as players face lack of employment and turn to emigration and summer travel in a bid to answer this problem. We need to protect our players and look out for them in all aspects. The demands that are on these players is no less and we must protect them. Only in doing this can we strive to better our county and clubs,” the chairperson added.
“Progress at all levels with our inter-county teams has been achieved this year. This progress is to be built on and with the introduction this year of the U-13 and U-15 development squads to add to the primary and U-14 squads, the numbers training and working on improvement in the game at underage level this year were 140 girls, as opposed to 65 last year. This is a huge increase and one which we need to continue and improve upon as we attempt to lay the lasting foundations for a senior inter-county team.”
“Funding is still a huge issue, as the funding needed in the past year increased because of training facilities needed, buses, food, physio, as well as team gear. This is still at the very basic level, even with the improvements seen last year, and will require greater work with the county board, players and supporters’ club. The supporters’ club covered the physio bills for the year,” she added.
She went on to say that the work on the club scene this year has again been steady and productive and the credit for this has to go to the clubs, teams, fixtures committee and the county secretary.
“The benefit of the Easter camogie camps will be enormous to the girls who avail of them, both for development of skills and maybe, more importantly, for the friendships and links that they build between girls, coaches and clubs,” she said, before going on to pay tribute to Deirdre Murphy, regional development officer.
“Early in this year, Clare County Council met and gave a firm commitment that the playing field at Doora would be made available to Clare Camogie.
“We have since met with the council management in relation to this and this commitment was stated in principle.
“That was last May and no further meeting has taken place,” the chairperson said, before adding that she had just received news of a meeting set up for the following day.
“At the October meeting it was stated that the field would be ready for use in the springtime and that documentation would be ready. I ask those in the council that you recognise our limitations and while the playing surface will be ready, no toilet or changing facilities will be available. We need a long-term lease in the camogie board’s name to allow us apply for funding to secure this and without this the council’s promise is not fulfilled,” she said.
She paid tribute to all who helped in the staging of Féile in Clare during the summer.
She said she availed of the opportunity during Féile to show “what we hope will be our new playing field to our president and to the GAA president”.
The chairperson also paid tribute to Clare GAA and to the Clare Ladies’ Football Board and clubs for their co-operation during the year and she singled out county secretary Pat Fitzgerald for special mention.
The staging of their county senior final in Cusack Park proved to be a great occasion.
She also paid tribute to Newmarket and Corofin on their performances in the Munster and All-Ireland club championships.
She concluded by paying tribute to the officers of the board for their work during the year under review.