Camogie players don't need to overtrain to make up for lack of matches

Camogie players don't need to overtrain to make up for lack of matches
Niamh McGrath of Galway was in top form for her club Sarsfields who were crowned club camogie champions earlier this year. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

WITH so many clubs and intercounty teams now receiving training instructions via various apps from their coaches, one of the country’s leading fitness experts recently warned GAA players of the dangers of over-training on their own during the shutdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

A lot of players will almost certainly overdo things and, if they approach a particular strength and conditioning drill wrong, they could find themselves doing a lot of damage and be out injured for a period of time.

Limerick strength and conditioning coach Joe O’Connor says that, despite what a lot of clubs will tell you, you don’t need a lot of equipment. He has switched his gym clients online and put up a video of bodyweight exercises that they can follow.

“Of course, if you want to be bigger, faster, and stronger you need to be doing your strength and conditioning properly but, at times like this, bodyweight exercises will do,” he advised.

There are upsides to the ban on collective training, according to O’Connor.

“Players will have more time to recover, while those carrying niggling injuries will get an opportunity to allow it to recover properly.”

The value of rest cannot be overemphasised he stresses.

“I have always said that the difference between professional and amateur athletes is time management and recovery.

“Now, all GAA players, irrespective of whether they play for their county, their club, or play camogie, are getting what they always wanted, that is time to rest and recover.

“The one warning I would give is that just because you have an opportunity to train by yourself, make sure not to burn yourself into the ground.”

Limerick Strength and Conditioning coach Joe O'Connor and coach Paul Kinnerk lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Limerick Strength and Conditioning coach Joe O'Connor and coach Paul Kinnerk lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

The Camogie Association issued guidelines relating to the safe and secure staging of online training sessions for their players and teams.

Included were protocols around organising these sessions, outlining the safeguards that must be adhered to when staging this type of activity, and a guide to using Microsoft Teams, an online collaboration tool which is available to holders of official Camogie e-mail addresses, and can be used to organise unit activities with members.

The communication was made with the intention of providing best practice to their members and the information issued can be found and downloaded on their website. They say it is gratifying to hear of coaches and clubs who have recently contacted them seeking permission in these restricted times, to deliver live online exercise and coaching sessions for their underage teams.

With the correct safety guidance and good practices in place, the Association wants to support such initiatives.

They say this will assist coaches in delivering live online exercise and coaching sessions for young people under 18.

“It will assist our coaches and young people to work in a safer environment using secure online communications and the ability for coaches to access additional online coaching resources.

“It is important that all safeguarding measures are maintained to protect our young people.”

AIB and the Camogie Association recently announced the 2019/2020 AIB All-Ireland Senior Club Championship Team of the Year.

With Cork champions Sarsfields losing out narrowly to Drom & Inch of Tipperary in the Munster semi-final Cork, unfortunately, didn’t get far enough in the competition to get a player named.

Thirty years on from Clare’s solitary Munster senior club championship title, newcomers Scariff-Ogonnelloe caused a shock when they defeated Drom in the Munster final by 1-7 to 0-8.

Despite losing the All-Ireland semi-final to Derry’s Slaughtneil, Scariff have two players named on the team; Susan Vaughan at left corner-back, and midfielder Mairéad Scanlan.

That’s where Munster’s interest in the team ends, as the remaining 15 are dominated by champions Sarsfields of Galway and Slaughtneil, with Niamh Hetherton of St Vincent’s in Dublin, the only player outside of the other three mentioned teams to get a spot.

The team features six players from champions Sarsfields, and six from the Ulster Champions and All-Ireland runners-up, Slaughtneil.

Four players — one from each province — were named as Provincial Players of the Year. Aoife Ní Chaiside of Slaughtneil; Niamh Hetherton of Leinster and St Vincents; Mairéad Scanlan from Scariff-Ogonnelloe, and Siobhán McGrath of Connaught and Sarsfields. The four players were in the running for the prestigious AIB Camogie Club Player of the Year Award, and the winner was announced last week.

Sarsfields’ Siobhán McGrath was named the Player of the Year.

It capped a wonderful year to add to her All-Ireland glory, as the Galway side defeated Slaughtneil who were chasing four in a row in Croke Park.

Siobhán played a starring role in the final and her late goal was crucial in securing victory.

While the current Covid-19 emergency prevents the holding of a ceremony to celebrate the announcement, AIB, together with the Camogie Association, still wanted to acknowledge the selected players for their performances throughout the season.

All 15 players whose performances, skills, and talent lit up the championship will be awarded with handcrafted trophies created by renowned sculptor Jarlath Daly.

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