In her address to delegates at the camogie convention last week, Orla Considine called on the council to uphold the promise made to Clare camogie 20 years ago to provide a playing field at Doora.
“This field has now been developed, there is a playing surface with goal posts and also a small all-weather training facility attached. The field will be ready for playing in the new calendar year. I ask those in the position of releasing this to now do so and be seen to stand behind their commitment and not to let down the female population of this county yet again,” she said, before warning “we will not stand for anything less than the fulfilment of the commitment already given.”
She added, “It was with great regret that the county intermediate team had to give two walkovers and then were subsequently withdrawn from competition during 2009.”
She told the delegates that the team had been entered in the hope that it would help in the development of players for senior. “This did not work out and this is a huge disappointment,” she said.
She noted it was disappointing to have tasted defeat in both the Munster and All-Ireland U-18 finals. “Losing a second successive All-Ireland final at this level was particularly disappointing, as years of work and dedication had been put into their preparations.”
In paying tribute to the management team, she said, “These girls are the future of our game and are hugely valuable to their club and county.”
She went on to pay special tribute to the U-16 team that won the Munster championship. “This lifted the spirits and was a boost to all involved in the game. The bar has now been set and we hope that these girls will go forward and emulate the success of the last two years. The foundation to this was laid with the inception of the U-14 county squad a number of years back and the continuation of this will serve our county well. This squad worked hard through the year.”
Dealing with refereeing, Ms Considine said, “Forty-five young people were trained and qualified to referee with green card qualification, allowing them to referee up to U-14. Further refereeing courses will be held in February and there are plans for a Level 1 coaching course and blitzes that will be of benefit to those taking part in Féile 2010.
“This year also saw the opening of the Wolfe Tones camogie pitch for use and this has proven invaluable. It is a great credit to all involved.”
As this is the 75th year, a club star award scheme was introduced on the county team’s medal presentation night. “This gave a small opportunity to recognise the work for the development of camogie within clubs and also to recognise the work of administrators and leaders in camogie, with the special award to Fr Murray and Hall of Fame award to Kitty McNicholas.”
Funding is also a huge problem for female sport, she noted. “It is assumed by many that the camoige association is affiliated to the GAA and while both are from the same family, the funding and facilities for the associations are very separate.
“We acknowledge that we could in no way survive without the support, help and services of the GAA. Unlike the GAA, soccer, rugby and other major sports, camogie gets no support from Government bodies and all the work is voluntary within our association,” she said.
The chairperson went on to recognise the help and co-operation received from the Clare GAA Board and clubs along with the Clare Ladies Football Board and clubs.
She congratulated the ladies’ football teams, who brought All-Ireland glory to the county at U-14 and intermediate levels and the Munster U-18 title. “I especially acknowledge the work of our dual players, as this is not an easy role.”
She acknowledged the county U-21 hurling team who brought Munster and All-Ireland success to the county and to Darach Honan for his individual achievement (Munster U-21 player of the year). She also mentioned camogie members who won individual awards during the past year and also praised the various competition winners and participants.
“The year ahead will pose its own challenges and we will also have the honour of hosting Féile. This will not be an easy task but one which I know that you will rise to and grasp with both hands and will succeed to make a memorable event for all.”