‘Heartbeat of Glen Rovers’ Mary Newman is Camogie Volunteer of the Year

A fitting recognition for Mary, who has given a lifetime of service to her club and Cork camogie
‘Heartbeat of Glen Rovers’ Mary Newman is Camogie Volunteer of the Year

Glen Rovers Camogie Club secretary Mary Newman receiving her "Volunteer of the Year" award from President of the Camogie Association Hilda Breslin at Croke Park.

ONE of Cork’s best-known camogie administrators Mary Newman has been honoured at the recent Camogie Association Referees, Volunteer and Media Awards in Croke Park.

Close on 200 invited guests attended the event which saw volunteers from all corners of the country recognised for their outstanding contribution to the game. 

In Mary Newman’s case, it is a love affair with Glen Rovers and Cork camogie that stretches back through the decades. Mary is the heart and soul of her beloved club, having filled a huge variety of roles through the corridors of time.

“To say Mary’s life is devoted to the Glen is an understatement," said club chairperson Mary Sheehan. “She is our organiser in chief and her passion, enthusiasm and selflessness is an example to all. 

"Her love of camogie is immense and when Cork needed a PRO she stepped into the county scene and served for 25 years at county level as she has also completed a term as Seandún PRO in recent times."

As a close colleague for a number of years, Mary Sheehan is in a prime position to recognise the unfashionable chores that have to be done behind the scenes to ensure the smooth running of any successful club.

“One would have to say that Mary Newman is the epitome of 'first in, last out' volunteerism which together with her organisation skills makes her absolutely indispensable. As club secretary she takes her role to the limit, attending almost every training session of all grades and is hugely responsible for the resurgence of the club academy. 

"Mary’s workload was best illustrated in her absence through illness a number of years ago when it took four people to fill her void. 

She is the absolute heartbeat of our club and I would say quite frankly – Mary Newman is Glen Rovers Camogie Club." 


As for the woman herself, camogie was always going to be a way of life from her very early years.

"My mother, Nora O'Brien, who played on the first Glen Rovers team in 1950 to win the county senior title, was Chairperson of the club and she is still involved as President. I don't think we had any other choice as she was involved with the county and club teams as selector, so I never knew anything else except camogie," admits Mary.

After playing until 1984, a back injury stalled on-field activity and thus the almost inevitable progression came on the horizon.

"We had won three county titles in 1983 at senior, junior and minor so the club was on a real high. I became a selector with the senior team and we enjoyed a remarkable run of success winning county and All-Ireland titles. I then more or less wandered into the officership roles and before I knew it, it was directly involved. Then came the county involvement being PRO for over 20 years and also acting secretary for a while."

An eventual step aside from that role saw Mary being scouted very quickly by Glen Rovers Hurling Club and she soon took up the PRO role, which she currently holds, parallel to being camogie secretary.

While the term running in the family is commonly used across the sporting spectrum to sum up longevity, Mary Newman and her family can certainly boast a rather rare feat. No less than four generations are currently involved as club members with Glen Rovers camogie club. Mary's mother, niece and grandnieces are all club members, with her mother now cheering on her great-grandchildren on the playing fields.

Going forward the old adage that the next game is the most important can be applied to Mary Newman’s rapidly filling fixture diary. Wherever it's on Mary will be there. In fact the only reason she ever seems to miss a Glen match is if she is at another Glen Rovers game. 

A busy summer lies ahead balancing being camogie secretary, hurling PRO, camogie selector, and then there is the matter of overseeing the Academy, where is very much the conductor of the orchestra.

As for ambitions for the year?

"I'd love to see us make a big impression again in the camogie county championship. Last year was a bit disappointing losing in round two. The ultimate for every team is to win the county title. A huge effort is being put in under a brilliant set of mentors."

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