Imokilly camogie making real strides thanks to strong structures

Massive work is being put in by the East Cork Board to develop the game at every level
Imokilly camogie making real strides thanks to strong structures

Erin's Own and Midleton players at a recent Imokilly camogie underage blitz.

THE Imokilly Camogie Board continues to make progress on and off the field. 

With very solid structures now in place and with a committed group of officers and mentors putting in a huge effort, results are there for all to see.

There is a production line of hugely talented young players coming through underage ranks and the Imokilly team is all set to contest a place in the County Senior Championship as they battle with the other divisions.

It's a far cry from a few short years ago, when it proved difficult to get a group of players together and in some cases difficult to put scores on the board. Now the landscape has changed. Already this year, the divisional team has played three challenge matches and won all three. 

Team training which has been taking place since early spring has been well attended and there is a real sense of belief that the division is really going places. The buy-in from all the junior clubs has also been good.

Central to all that happens on and off at the field is Imokilly Board PRO Linda Cashman from Cobh, who is also part of the team setup. Here is a lady that has her pulse on all activities.

"We started up the senior team three years ago and it was all very new to us all. This was a huge step for all the players as we were assembling a panel from totally junior clubs. I do feel we have grown and are much stronger now. The standard overall is much nearer the senior level. 

"It is great to win our challenge games this season against Lismore, Ring and Killeagh - when you consider that just a few years ago, we were really counting ourselves lucky to get on the scoreboard."

The Imokilly senior camogie team, who played Lismore recently in a challenge game.
The Imokilly senior camogie team, who played Lismore recently in a challenge game.

Imokilly begin their championship campaign with a game against Carrigdhoun in the round-robin series that will see the winners emerge to face some big hitters from the senior clubs in the county. Dungourney is the current club base for training with players from the hosts joined by their colleagues from Bride Rovers, Youghal, Cobh, Castlelyons, Midleton, Watergrasshill, Castlemartyr and more.

Looking ahead Linda Cashman acknowledges its going to be a testing championship schedule. 

"After the Carrigdhoun game, we have Seandún, Avondhu and conclude against Carbery. We have a lot of work done since early season Hopefully, that will be reflected in our championship displays. Based on what we have seen in the aforementioned challenge matches, I would be positive as we face into the divisional schedule. I think we certainly have the capacity to hold our own in these forthcoming games."

Ger McCarthy from Castlelyons, who is Imokilly chairman is also team manager and he is joined by Pat Millerick from Fr O Neill's, John Boylan of Dungourney, Mossy O'Sullivan from Bride Rovers and Mark O'Flynn from Castleyons on the selection committee.

"The contributions of Anthony O'Regan, Aoife Murphy, Margaret Doran, Darina Foley along with Marguerite Cunningham (secretary), Vincent Cashman (treasurer) and Ann O'Neill (child welfare officer) have been very much to the fore as Imokilly camogie strides forward." 

The board, even though relatively small in numbers, has worked very well together as they bid to further heighten the profile of the Imokilly Division.

"We are always looking for sponsorship to cover our costs and of course, further down the line it would be great if we could somehow acquire our own pitch. At present we are dependent on the goodwill of the clubs to make their facilities available to us. The reality is that once the club match scene intensifies it will be even more difficult to get venues."

Linda is hugely heartened by the quality of the underage game in the division and the skill level of many of the young players who are making a really big impression.

The Imokilly U13 camogie panel for 2022.
The Imokilly U13 camogie panel for 2022.

"Our leagues, beginning with the Go Games system from U8 to U11 have all proved to be a big success. Then we have U13s and U15s and are in the process of trying to initiate U17 and U20 competitions to help bridge the gap. We also run U13 and U15 divisional training hubs. 

"Players come to us in October for a six-week period, before we streamline to a panel of 30 who go forward to represent Imokilly in divisional blitzes, some of these players then go onto Cork panels. Overall, the juvenile game in East Cork is incredibly strong. 

"There is a very high skill level, which means the future looks very bright for East Cork camogie."

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