Imokilly camogie returned to senior ranks as game grows in East Cork

Sport is thriving again in eastern division
Imokilly camogie returned to senior ranks as game grows in East Cork

The Imokilly senior team that participated in the S E Systems senior camogie championship

LIKE all the other divisions Imokilly was geared up and ready to go for a busy 2020 season but unfortunately Covid 19 put paid to many of their plans.

Never the less there were many positives during the year.

Under the guidance of chairman Eoin Kennedy, secretary Lorraine O’Connell, treasurer, Vincent Cashman, PRO Linda Cashman and committee members Maria Dinan, Pat Mellerick, and Ger McCarthy they decided to field a senior team to participate in the county championship.

Many years ago Imokilly would have graced the championship with the senior county title finding a home in the barony of Imokilly in 1947 for the first time.

They went on to record five in a row of titles from 1972 to 1976 with superb teams that featured inter-county stars Marie Costine, Marion Sweeney, Mary O’Leary and Pat Moloney.

With many of their clubs gaining senior status the strength of the division was weakened and they had to wait again until 1996 to contest a final when they lost out to Glen Rovers.

They were back again in 2006 but lost out to St Finbarr’s and in 2010 they fell at the hand of Inniscarra in a thrilling final.

With new clubs within the division and clubs such as Aghada and Midleton emerging as strongholds once again the decision was made to contest the championship in 2020.

This was a huge challenge but there was huge determination and a young group of players under the guidance of a determined management team and to their credit, they gave everything as they stepped out to represent their division.

With a lot of their panel just out of minor grade, they were a young side but they showed huge belief and passion, they met Seandún in their opening game and lost out. It was onto the losers' round where they met Newcestown who were making a return to the senior grade having won the Intermediate championship in 2019.

In a tough battle Newcestown came out on top but no doubt the experience will have stood to all who lined out with the divisional.

For the first time in a number of years Imokilly re-introduced an U11 League to be run in conjunction with their U12, U10s and U8 competitions and this was a testament to the growing numbers in all clubs in East Cork and it was excellent to see all the clubs fielding teams in most of age groups.

Some clubs even managed to run a few U6 games in the short gap between lockdowns and these were something that was enjoyed by the very young participants.

Unfortunately, things were running well when the Covid situation worsened and so the final days and blitzes had to be put on hold.

This was a huge disappointment for all the clubs who had worked so hard keeping everybody safe whilst getting their games played on time but the division is hoping that they will be in a position to roll out their final and get them all played when restrictions are lifted and before 2021 competitions get underway.

Due to the unprecedented situation, the divisions U15 and U13 teams found themselves at the wrong end of lockdown, the U15 team were lucky as they did get to play a few games against their divisional counterparts while the U13 team had just one game.

Despite the difficult circumstances, the enthusiasm was very evident and numbers at training were exceptional for both teams.

Huge credit must go to each and every club who turned a very difficult situation into one of safety and fun for all the young players in the division.

The hard work that was done in every club with Return to Play protocols was very evident and all worked with their club’s Covid supervision and ensured all training sessions were held in safe playing pods.

The effort put in not just in Imokilly but in all the clubs and divisions through the county exceptional to say the least and not to be underestimated. The long hours put in by officials before a ball was struck was immense as they ensured the safety of their players and mentors and it was a job well done by all.

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