We need support from our own women, says worried Camogie chief

The newly inaugurated Camogie president says the game needs a stronger following - from camogie players.

We need support from our own women, says worried Camogie chief

Dwindling crowds, according to Kilkenny native Catherine Neary, is one of the big issues facing the association as attendances at the All-Ireland camogie final triple-header have fallen annually since the decision in 2009 to end the practice of playing alongside the U21 hurling final.

Neary admits it is time members of the association began following their own sport, with only 12,476 patrons filling through the turnstiles for the 2014 finals - the fifth consecutive September where there was a marked drop in crowd size.

Research carried out by Camogie top-brass reveals two-thirds of club camogie supporters attend a maximum of two inter-county fixtures each year.

“There was disappointment at the numbers at last year’s All-Ireland final,” admitted Neary.

“That is something we must take responsibility of and moving forward we must target our own playing population to increase attendances, make sure they attend and actively support their own game.

“We have a large membership. A lot of our members would attend hurling and football games and we need to put to them, and, indeed, the wider GAA community, that it is time to support our game.

“We are trying to build the mentality of supporting both your club and county. You saw the crowd at last year’s ladies football final (27,374), the potential is there to draw in really big crowds on finals afternoon.”

She continued: “Ensuring all inter-county fixtures are played at County grounds would also help to grow attendances. We must do everything to market these games and make them as attractive as possible.”

Neary welcomed the decision at last weekend’s Congress to legislate for the use of Hawk-Eye on match-days and the introduction of the five-second advantage rule.

The motion of the Wexford County Board to condense the club season into the calendar year, however, was comprehensively rejected.

“Two of our club finals are in Croke Park and that is a great chance for club players to get to play at Croke Park. That chance wouldn’t be as strong if the games were played in December.”

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