Does Camogie require a fresh approach?
ACCORDING to Lurgan woman Jane France, the game of Camogie, particularly in North Armagh, needs to be given a new, fresh approach.
Recently the Clann ireann club, following years of commitment to the promotion of Ladies Football, were able to field strong teams in three county finals.
Meanwhile, two local Camogie clubs, namely St. Enda’s Derrymacash and Clan na Gael, who at one stage had several county players in their ranks, are now struggling to keep their heads above water.
So what steps can be taken to promote local Camogie? Speaking in a personal capacity and illustrating her views, which she says may not necessarily be the views of the Clan na Gael club, Jane France believes that the following measures could revive the local game.
She said: “Camogie is a very expensive sport to play, from all the equipment each girl needs such as boots, sticks, shin guards, helmets to registration and insurance fees, which must be paid individually. This is expensive for a playing adult or for the parents of one child not to mention those families who have three or four children playing the game.
“The expense then extends to substantial county board fees due annually, increasing year on year and with the onset of further fundraising, it puts a lot of pressure on clubs, particularly North Armagh clubs which are struggling for numbers. It filters down then to the players, their parents and family members.
“Camogie in schools is a highly important aspect in developing the game. If you compare underage Camogie in North Armagh to that in Mid Armagh or South Armagh, they appear to be worlds apart. Whilst it is necessary that children and their parents must be enthusiastic to start with, I believe coaching in primary schools and secondary schools may help increase interest, numbers and skill. Volunteers, although very much appreciated and much needed, sometimes need guidance to help them coach correctly.
“Coverage of Camogie events could be increased so that people become familiar with what’s happening, fixtures, names of players etc, in other words, raising the profile of the game.
“At Senior level in North Armagh, many clubs have already been forced to disband and those which remain are struggling. An idea may be to amalgamate and have one team, new colours and a new name. Anyone who has a passion for Camogie can still play, without the stigma of ‘playing for another club’.
“Football and Camogie should work together as regards training times, match days and so on to avoid clashes, meaning that girls who wish to play both aren’t forced to choose between the two.
“At underage levels, sport must be fun or kids will not play. A toning down of the competitiveness might help and all kids who take part should be rewarded. What better way than for senior members of the club to attend a training session and interact with young players, watch a game or give positive praise.”