Nine Rebel county players who won All-Ireland senior medals last September without playing in the championship (Sarah Fahy, Niamh Ní Chaoimh, Amy Lee, Katelyn Hickey, Leah Weste, Sarah Buckley, Finola Neville, Lauren Callinan and Rebecca Walsh) had their applications to be regraded as intermediate players rejected for procedural reasons.
The players had their submissions refused because they typed their names in the relevant forms, rather than signing them with a pen. They claim their applications were submitted in the exact same way last year, when they got the green light, but despite quotes emanating from the Cork County Board committing to pursuing the matter, and reports suggesting the players could be pursuing legal avenues, association president Catherine Neary insists nothing has changed.
“We are where we are,” said Neary at yesterday’s function at Croke Park to announce details of the AIB All-Ireland Club camogie finals at headquarters on March 6. “The rules were applied as we explained in the statement last week and that’s where it sits at the moment. We’ve gone with the rules. It’s unfortunate the rules can lead to this type of situation but the rules are there and are designed so that everybody understands what the processes were.”
She continued: “I can’t comment on the previous year because I wasn’t part of that so I don’t know what did or didn’t happen, or how things were applied. I can only talk about at the moment and at the moment that’s the rule that’s being applied equally across everybody and all counties, so we haven’t treated anybody any differently. That’s the important thing. That’s why the rules are there, to make sure everybody is treated the same.”
This year’s AIB senior and intermediate club finals are falling on Mother’s Day and to mark the special role of the maternal figure in the game, the Camogie Association is offering entry for two adults and two children for €25 The club championships have a special place in Neary’s heart, as she played alongside the legendary Downey sisters and Breda Holmes on the St Paul’s team that achieved a three-in-a-row from 1987-89.
“The club is the heart of everything we do. I’ve played in club All-Irelands and the excitement of it is just incredible. It brings the whole community behind you. It doesn’t matter if people are involved in sport or not, everybody wants to be involved in the team.
“It just shows you that camogie, the Gaelic games family, it’s all about the community first and foremost. It is the bedrock of everything we do.”