Camogie players shouldn't be put under pressure to tog out this year

Camogie players shouldn't be put under pressure to tog out this year
The Cork team who lined up against Kilkenny in their Littlewoods Division 1 camogie league match at Páirc Uí Rinn. Picture: Dan Linehan

THE Camogie Association last week extended its suspension of all camogie activity until at least Monday, June 8.

I clarified with the association that ‘all camogie activities’ includes training in any group size.

So, the government might be permitting groups of four to get together for sporting activity post May 18, but the Camogie Association are saying no until June 8 at least. The GAA have gone even further, closing their pitches until July 20, perhaps or beyond.

That’s important to know and I wonder if teams will adhere to it.

People are so divided as to whether there should be GAA action this year, with already many heated debates around it. There are many who are truly desperate for action and refuse to see a situation where it may not happen.

My own opinion is that it just isn’t going to work this year. I think it’s too risky.

Cork players Chloe Sigerson and Niamh Callaghan looking to stop the breaking Katie Nolan, Kilkenny. Picture Dan Linehan
Cork players Chloe Sigerson and Niamh Callaghan looking to stop the breaking Katie Nolan, Kilkenny. Picture Dan Linehan

We all love our sport, but it isn’t worth any player or associated member catching the virus and spreading it. Even if one additional death occurs because of collective training or a match that went ahead, then it’s one death too many.

There are just too many avenues during close proximity activity by which this virus can spread. I don’t think games behind closed doors is the answer either. The numbers and close contact are just too much. I think referee David Gough coming out earlier this week saying that he wouldn’t officiate until a vaccine is found is both wise and brave.

Referee David Gough before issuing a black card to Darren Hughes of Monaghan earlier this year. Picture: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Referee David Gough before issuing a black card to Darren Hughes of Monaghan earlier this year. Picture: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Of course, some blasted him on twitter for it, but he has every right to protect himself and his family. If the go-ahead is given, we’ll see some players pulling out of games or put under pressure to play when they really don’t want to.

That’s not right.

This is going to divide managements, players, and the public and I think the GAA, and I include camogie and ladies football in this, should take this unrest out of their hands, make the call and cancel 2020 and resume in 2021 with, please God, a vaccine in place by then.

We all think it’ll never come to our door. But it does. I as much as anyone miss the games, but nothing is worth the risk. I can’t wait to spend time with my wider family when this is over, and I certainly wouldn’t want to be the person to bring it into our fabric.

I’m sure many players are anxious about this too. Some will have a carefree attitude towards it of course. Everyone’s home situation is different, and the risk levels vary greatly.

If the season does go ahead, each player should have the freedom to make their own decision free from criticism. But, as I said, I think it’s putting players in a very difficult situation and management too.

Meanwhile, while all of this is going on, Covid-19 has brought out the wonderful nature in the Irish people once again.

The fundraising activities nationwide are truly uplifting. The big two that I’m aware of was the 'Do It for Dan' fundraiser where little Dan Quigley has a rare genetic neuromuscular disease and over €2m was raised to help Dan get a life-changing and saving operation in the USA.

Then we had the ‘GoFundMe’ drive for Saoirse Ruane who at eight years of age was diagnosed with a tumour in her tibia resulting in intense chemotherapy and the amputation of her right leg. She’s a camogie player from Galway and the fund will help her rehabilitation and obtain prosthetics which will need replacing regularly as her body grows.

Every club is doing something whether it’s for Penny Dinners, Pieta House, Marymount, the Irish Cancer Society plus many more. It would be wrong to highlight a few clubs when so many are doing so much.

It’s truly uplifting and well done to all.

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