Complaints of age discrimination over cancelled All-Ireland minor championship

Complaints of age discrimination over cancelled All-Ireland minor championship
Cork manager Jerry Wallace has led the county to back-to-back All-Ireland minor titles. Photo: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Inter-county minor camogie managers have called on the Camogie Association to row back on its decision to cancel this year’s All-Ireland minor championship.

A Camogie Association statement released on Monday evening confirmed the cancellation of the 2020 All-Ireland minor (U18) championship, the opening two rounds of which were played in late February and early March.

Minor competitions will be organised on a provincial basis when inter-county activity resumes in October, but minor managers are adamant the All-Ireland championship must not be done away with and can be reformatted to fit into the truncated inter-county season.

Cork manager Jerry Wallace - physical trainer when the county won back-to-back All-Ireland hurling titles in 2004 and ‘05 - said minor camogie managers have been in communication with one another since the announcement on Monday evening and will continue to lobby camogie top-brass until such time as the decision to abandon the minor championship is reversed.

Wallace has written to Camogie Association Ard Stiúrthóir Sinéad McNulty, describing the decision as age discrimination given the large number of players in each squad currently in their last year of minor.

“I fully appreciate the fixture and organisational quandrums of running competitions over a short period of time. Saying this, the Camogie Association should not allow the difficulties of the pandemic or logistical concerns to stop a championship that started in February from completion. Play the games,” he wrote.

If the All-Ireland minor championship was restarted under its original format, seven weekends would be required to conclude the competition.

Wallace insisted he and other managers have no problem with a more condensed format coming on stream. But to uphold the decision to cancel the competition outright would, he warned, “destroy the spirit of young camogie players”.

“Not allowing them to finish this journey is not right, especially when it can be finished. It is dynamite,” the 2018 and 2019 All-Ireland minor winning manager told the Irish Examiner.

“A WhatsApp group, bringing together minor managers, has been set up. Everyone is absolutely dismayed at what has happened. We are lobbying as much as we can to get this decision reversed. What will this decision do to each player's development and progression? It certainly won't have a positive impact.

“Whether the Camogie Association has quandaries in relation to the crossover of minor players playing junior, intermediate, or senior in other counties where they are allowed to do so, I don't know, but that does not mean they should dismiss this competition.

“Our understanding is the next meeting of the association is at the beginning of next week. Between now and then, I have no doubt there will be a volume of support sent into county boards to challenge this decision of the national executive to abandon this competition.”

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