Fionnuala Carr

Fionnuala Carr: Camogie could use more coverage

FROM a sporting point of view and to take some good from the Covid pandemic, it has been great to see and be involved in having the clubs at the forefront of the GAA. Each week we have had a multitude of games to watch online or on TV, the passion and joy that the club championship brings to people is like no other.

We have had huge drama, excitement and disappointments for clubs but there have been brilliant stories to go alongside them.

The camogie championship has been no different this year. Each of the finals in the Down, Antrim and Derry championships were available to watch online. The more a sport is available for people to see then the greater the interest it will generate. For ourselves in Clonduff, it was probably one of the years where we were put to the pins of our collar with very tough games against all of our opponents.


In each of the three finals this year the matches were highly anticipated. Slaughtneil, Loughgiel and Clonduff were all defending champions and each year the gap between them and the chasing pack has gotten smaller. Ballycastle had beaten Loughgiel in the group stages of the championship and when they met again in the final, many people were wondering could they repeat the feat. The game itself was extremely competitive but Loughgiel started very well and distinguished whatever hope that Ballycastle had of producing another upset.

Loughgiel had that more potent attacking edge and with Roisin McCormick on the top of her game, they ran out comfortable winners.

Having the game streamed meant that so many people could see the talent on display and there was also a clip of a fine individual score from Roisin to be shown on Twitter the length and breadth of the country.

The Derry Championship final between Swatragh and Slaughtneil was a brilliant game of camogie and one which Swatragh will probably feel they let slip conceding an injury time goal in extra-time to send the game to a replay.

The game ebbed and flowed with Swatragh having to fight back to earn the draw in normal time.

Having these games streamed meant that we could all watch the finals from our own homes, the excitement and the competitive nature of the games kept all us at the edge of our seats and you don’t have to just be a camogie player to experience that.

For ourselves, being able to retain our county title this year meant as much as winning our first title. In each and every game we played we had to dig deep to get the win.

Our semi-final against Portaferry was a nail-biting affair and one which we just got through after going behind late in the game. Each of the games in Down this year were extremely competitive and it shows the work that is being done at club level.

We played Ballygalget in the final and a lot of people were tipping Ballygalget after they had posted huge scorelines in each of their games. It was a game which was creating great anticipation within the county and the interest that was shownshows that the it is there in camogie.

We saved one of our best performances of the year for the final and it was built upon a sound defensive performance and a huge work-rate from everyone on the field.

These championships should leave all three counties in a good place in the lead up to the county season.

I personally felt that having a split season between club and county was hugely beneficial to clubs and to players. For once the club was the main focus with no distractions and no pressures in terms of overtraining or having to sacrifice your club session for a county session.

One of the big positives for the camogie is that they waited until later in the year before deciding whether or not to have a provincial and All-Ireland series. After the intercounty season is over, there are no scheduled provincial championships in the football or hurling. There is a huge opportunity there for the Camogie Association and ladies football to market their game in the mainstream media.

Why could we not have the Ulster, Leinster, Connacht and Munster camogie finals shown on BBC, RTE or TG4?

There won’t be any other competitions running so why not put the games on TV? In a year where there has been a huge focus on equality and promoting women’s sport, this would be a statement of intent from the broadcasters.

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