When you’re involved in camogie you get used to frustration. And when you’re involved in camogie as a manager, usually that frustration is borne out of something that has happened to let the players down. Whether it’s fixture chaos, crazy rulings, incompetent boards or lack of match officials, it seems that we are always just lurching from one incident to another.
Invariably summer rolls around, the sport loses the battle for column inches with the GAA and the group stages play out infront of a man and a dog, often in secondary county grounds and on club pitches around the country. The Sunday Game will give it’s customary sixty second nod to a chosen game, aren’t they great girls.
Every year this happens. The knock-out games are shown on RTE, bit of a show the night of the All-Ireland, see you in August. The All-Ireland Club finals went ahead in March with no television coverage. Two of the best games you will ever see. Our national sport.
We can give the Camogie Association the benefit of the doubt. It’s well documented that RTE have cut budgets for live sport in recent years. There are other avenues. TG4, Virgin Media. But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say that the broadcasters aren’t interested during a time of the year when the GAA championship is top billing. Fine.
This evening the Camogie Association released it’s fixture plan for the 2020 championship. For weeks I heard that it was going to follow the same route as the GAA – club first then county. For weeks I gave the association the benefit of the doubt. Surely they see the opportunity. For once they will show initiative and not trail along behind the GAA like a child following their parent around a supermarket.
Government green light to start playing matches in July. No inter-county GAA until October. A clear run at it with no opposition. All those column inches to be filled, all that air time. The gaelic games public starved of live games! Two hours every Sunday evening on the Sunday Game. You hoped and hoped that they would do the right thing. Let county back first. Oh for fuck sake just let county back first.
But no. The camogie championship will start in October. Right alongside the hurling and the football. The lads will take the live slots and the Sunday Game, the ladies footballers will do their thing on TG4 and the camogie folk will feel sorry for themselves again.
Another championship will pass by with only fleeting glimpses of the countries best players. We saw Amy O’Connor once on the telly last summer. Beth Carton once. Niamh Mulcahy once. Ann Dalton twice. Thank god Galway went the long route and we were treated to Niamh Kilkenny and co. three times. This simply isn’t good enough.
The players deserve a platform to showcase their talents to the country.
Opportunity knocked and there was nobody home. They have been let down once again.
It’s the hope that kills ya isn’t it?
We have written to the Camogie Association for comment