2019 ALL-IRELAND SENIOR club camogie champions Sarsfields of Galway are leading calls for the completion of the outstanding 2020 action — the provincial and national championship series.
Earlier this week, the Camogie Association overturned its controversial fixture plan as 53% of clubs voted in favour of a split-season format for 2021.
After an ugly back-and-forth involving the Gaelic Players Association [GPA] with inter-county players threatening strike action, members were polled on what direction the schedule should take.
The inter-county championship will now take place after the Littlewoods Ireland Camogie Leagues, which start this weekend, with 2021 club competitions following thereafter.
This decision, however, has come at a cost for clubs who were due to contest the 2020 All-Ireland club series. As of now, it will remain incomplete.
RTÉ Sport reports that the six senior clubs affected — Loughiel, Drom and Inch, Thomastown, Inagh Kilnamona, Sarsfields and Oulart-The Ballagh — have written to the Camogie Association this week to seek a window for those competitions to be completed.
The dates of 7, 13, 20 and 27 June have been put forward as four weekends that could see the completion of the senior championship – a proposed fixture schedule that would run in tandem with the 2021 leagues.
@gbfmsports @ConnachtCamogie @Drom_Camogie @inagh_kilnamona @OulartC @ThomastownC @LoughgielCamogi @SportsDaz @womenshurling @OfficialCamogie @WomensGPA @HerSportDotIE @TuamHerald @wsdotie @GalwayCamogie96 pic.twitter.com/yG2Nqbgn1M
— Sarsfields Camogie Club, Galway 🇳🇬 (@SarsfieldsCC) May 13, 2021
Manager Michael ‘Hopper’ McGrath spoke out passionately on Galway Bay FM today.
“We’ve the template set for them. done everything for them only give us a pitch, give us a ref, let’s get on with it,” the Tribe playing great said.
“I’m telling you now, the repercussions for this are going to be drastic. It’s going to split county players, it’s going to split club players, we don’t want that. We have eight on the county panel with Galway and we’re very proud of them. But we’re all about the mantra: you’re a club person number one, that’s where you start, that’s where you finish.
Don’t get me wrong, I played with the county myself and you give everything you have to the county, but it should not impede on club players. Club players make up 98% of the thing. Okay, the GPA are doing good things for the players, but they’re doing a lot wrong as well. They’re not doing anything for these [club] players, these are the heart of the communities, the heart of the Association.”
“We want to sit down at them around the table, or whatever way it is over Zoom,” he added. “They have to negotiate with us. They just have to. Who’s suffering? Everyone’s suffering.
“I hope they realise the effort that players have been putting in the last six months, putting their lives on hold for this. The county players threatened to strike, we have a nuclear option too and we’ll be pressing that button if needs be. We’re going as far as we possibly can to get common sense prevailing.”
✅Suitable dates proposed & outlined.
✅Respective clubs ready to go. @OfficialCamogie @HildaBreslin What’s the plan of action? https://t.co/XxiQn2ja0U
— Orlaith Mc Grath (@OrlaithMcGrath) May 14, 2021
Every players dream is to represent their club at the highest level. For some girls it's their first chance and for others it may be their last! Let's not undermind the importance of the club provincial and All-Ireland Championship. Hopefully the @OfficialCamogie will see sense! https://t.co/2YKiYz3zTQ
— Shauna Sinnott (@ShaunaSinnott) May 14, 2021
Let’s hope the @OfficialCamogie see sense and do the right thing and what was promised. https://t.co/lTBXUGoMCI
— Jackie Tyrrell (@MrJackieTee) May 13, 2021
Would love for the @OfficialCamogie to explain their reasoning behind the All-Ireland Club Championship being completely disregarded despite numerous times being told it was going ahead. No reason it can’t be played before the inter-county championship begins. @SarsfieldsCC https://t.co/LiztEy80Xb
— Siobhan Mc Grath (@grath_siobhan) May 11, 2021
Sarsfields released a statement yesterday — Oulart-The-Ballagh did too (read below) — which reads as follows:
“As things currently stand, following the outcome of the Camogie Association’s 2021 Fixtures poll of clubs, the All Ireland Club Championships 2020 will not now be concluding.
“Understandably, Sarsfields Camogie Club, as with all the other clubs involved, are extremely dissatisfied with this outcome and see no reason why the 2020 championships cannot be concluded.
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“There is no reason why the 2020 championships cannot be completed during the inter-county leagues as is the case every other year.
“Repeated assurances were provided by the Camogie Association that the championships would be concluding and all our players together with hundreds of players across the country proceeded to train remotely on that basis.
“The Camogie Association states in its mission statement that “Camogie is at the heart of the community, a game that inspires, an Association for all”. With its abandonment of the All Ireland 2020 club championships, the Camogie Association has disregarded its own vision.
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“What happened to the club being the heart and soul of our communities? Where do all players start and finish their careers?
“The championships have to be played and suitable dates have been identified by the clubs involved. Club players’ voices need to be heard for once and for all.”