What Could The Camogie Vote Mean For The Upcoming Season?

The members of camogie clubs have had the opportunity to make their voices heard, as the voting for the structure of the camogie season closed at 10am this morning.

Last month, the Camogie Association came under fire after they revealed plans  not to implement the split season model in operation for both GAA and Ladies Football fixtures. The Association initially proposed the Littlewoods National Leagues to be played first, then club championships followed by the inter-county championships.

After the initial decision was met with anger and disappointment from the public, the Camogie Association temporarily put a halt to these plans. A document outlining the possible formats for the 2021 season was circulated and players have been asked to vote.

The proposal to play the club championship in between the inter-county season has been criticised. Her Sport broke the news that an emergency meeting was called after all senior counties (except one) were against the motion, while 82% of players were against this.

It was later revealed by the GPA that a vote took place and 84% of players would boycott the Littlewoods Ireland Camogie Leagues if the proposed season was implemented. Cork camogie manager Paudie Murray revealed he does not anticipate Cork to be playing in the League this weekend.

I would think if 82% of players voted against a split season the camogie association would of went with a split season….
This format is going against what's best for both club and county players. Poor and illogical decision. @OfficialCamogie

— Katrina Mackey ? (@Katrina92Mackey) May 1, 2021

So what have players asked to vote on?

The Camogie Association have asked all club and county members to vote for two options on how to structure the calendar this season: 

  1. Littlewoods National League, followed by AIB Club Championships, followed by Inter-county Championship.
  2. Littlewoods National League, followed by Inter-county Championship, followed by AIB Club Championships.

Option One

Players start the National League, followed by club action, before coming back for inter-county championship towards the end of the season. This proposes the completion of the 2020 All-Ireland club championships by mid-July. This competition was postponed last year due to Covid-10 restrictions. The 2021 club games would then run from July to October, with All-Ireland deciders taking place in 2022.

The senior inter-county championships would commence in late October and conclude in December. The All-Ireland minor decider is pencilled in for the first weekend of December, followed by the senior final on the weekend of the 11/12 December.

Pros & Cons

For your average club player, option 1 may seem more desirable. Players can resume training as of 10 May, and begin preparing for the upcoming games which are proposed to take place earlier. The 2020 club championship would also be completed, following on from last year’s suspension.

That said, it does leave a small window for the completion of these games. Players are straight into training for club championships. This option also means it is likely there will be dual player clashes, with the LGFA inter-county series starting the same time as club championship. Will players be released to their clubs? There are also concerns that with the All-Ireland series concluding in December, there is a short turnaround for the  January 2022 league start – causing further concerns over player welfare.

Hypothetical Camogie split season (senior). Clubs have plenty of opportunities for games from 7th June onwards.After 17th July, half of county teams finished & players back with clubs full time. #updaterequired #camogie

— Kate Kelly (@katekelly05) May 7, 2021

Option Two

This involves the League and inter-county championship being played directly after each other and ensuring a ‘’split season’’ for players. Once all county games have been played, club championship can start. Under this option, the 2020 All-Ireland club championships would not be completed. This year’s club championships would run from November to January with All-Ireland club finals being played in 2022.

The inter-county championships would take place between July and early September, while the minor championship would be completed between July and August. 

Pros & Cons

Option 2, which is currently favoured by the majority of players, means there is a direct line between both championships.

It means inter-county players can focus on one team at a time and not be forced to choose between their county and club. Preparation for club action can resume straight away after the All-Ireland finals, which have been scheduled for early August. This also leaves a bigger time frame for county boards to finish their competitions. This also gives dual players who play inter-county football the availability for club championships. 

However, there are challenges as clubs may find it difficult to play in winter conditions and under floodlights. 

What will be the outcome? We will find out soon enough.

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