Finn attacks GAA’s attitude

ALL-IRELAND winning Cork camogie coach Pa Finn has launched a stinging broadside at GAA officials in the county for the dismissive attitude shown towards the team ahead of Sunday’s victory over Tipperary.

The coach was particularly critical of the decision to play the Cork SHC final on the same day as the camogie decider, and accused the county board of paying lip service to camogie.

"I think it's a disgrace. We had Cork in two All-Ireland camogie finals, and if it wasn't for the parents and friends of the girls involved, we'd have had no-one at Croke Park.

"If they put off the county final for a week, what would it have mattered to them? Nothing.

"We need support, those girls deserve support for all the work they've put in.

"You had a situation where the O'Connor family were split in two, the boys in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, their sister in Croke Park winning her first All-Ireland senior medal. The family couldn't be together on a day like that, and that is sad."

Though not growing as fast as its Gaelic football counterpart, camogie is still a growth sport, especially in Cork, with more and more girls joining an increasing number of clubs.

"The support camogie gets from the county board is minimal. They give us a collection at the county final, which we missed, because we were up here (it was held during the semi-finals).

"It's the begging bowl syndrome and it's unfair and disrespectful to those trying to run camogie, when you have to go around like that.

"The Cork County Board should be coming and saying 'look, we'll sponsor this'. Especially with the money they have. We were lucky we got Punch's in as sponsors for the last few weeks, to look after the girls. If we hadn't those, we'd have been in big trouble.

"The effort the girls put in is huge; they started in February, went through to September, two nights a week and once at weekends. We're getting sliotars off the county board, but not enough. You must get support, you have to have your own county board backing you.

"If you could get people along to see these games, to see the quality Sunday was a superb final, unreal skill levels, even the work-rate. They won an All-Ireland for Cork, but what will they get? The girls are doing everything that's asked of them, but it's a shame, they're getting nothing back. Lip service, that's all."

The ironic thing is that the camogie girls, typified by Sunday's player-of-the-game, Fiona O'Driscoll, are all committed supporters of their male counterparts.

"I'm very disappointed with the Cork County Board," said O'Driscoll. "I'm a fanatical GAA fan, go to every game I can, and I know when the lads (Cork team) aren't playing, they're great supporters of ours.

"But the board could surely have played that game on another weekend it would be different if Cork had been in an All-Ireland final themselves, and there was a backlog of fixtures, but that wasn't the case. It would have been really appreciated if it had been done."

The clash obviously disappointed Paula O'Connor. "Great result in Dublin, a bad result for the lads at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, but we'll get over that. It's desperate that a county final was fixed on the same day two Cork teams were in the All-Ireland final, it's a disgrace.

"We'd have brought a lot more support with us if that hadn't happened. It won't take the gloss off winning the All-Ireland, that was what we worked towards all year, a huge effort. My mother was up, so that was a bonus, and she was thrilled.

"But it was very disappointing, especially given that there was no rush with the county final, they could have put it off for another week."

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