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Camogie needs a re-imaging, not a glossy rebranding

By Declan Bogue

This week, the Camogie Association sent out their Director-General's report, all 116 glossy pages of it and it is a very professional document indeed, it has to be said.

There is a lot of positivity on those pages. Take President Aileen Lawlor for example, who informs us that: "The Association boasts an increase of 23 per cent growth in club registration in the last decade.

"This is phenomenal growth in any sport... Camogie continues to grow internationally. The North American Continental Youth Championships increased from one team in 2010 to 13 teams in 2014."

It is packed full of statistics and results of extensive surveys that they have conducted among their own playing and administrative personnel, but the naval-gazing also strayed into future plans for the association.

Something identified in the report shows that north of the Dublin-Galway line, the participation dies off. Of 26 GAA clubs in Belfast, only four clubs have a camogie wing.

In all of the Derry city catchment area, there is only one camogie club. This is an area that, they assure us, will be addressed.

Perhaps this trend should be set in the context of how popular ladies' football has been in the north.

Either way, they might heed the words of the former National Hurling co-ordinator Paudie Butler, who said earlier this month of camogie: "It should be called hurling… The term 'camogie' can be restrictive in the wrong head - 'we won't take that seriously'. And I think girls should hurl with boys up to 11 or 12. It already happens in some rural primary schools. It's the natural way."

They could do worse than get him on board. He's never been known to refuse a challenge yet.

Belfast Telegraph

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