Camogie Association chief executive, Sinéad McNulty has hailed the partnership with the GAA that has facilitated camogie and football/hurling double-headers over the years and sees two high profile fixtures this weekend as the Littlewoods Ireland Camogie Leagues get underway.
Paudie Murray’s Cork make their first appearance in the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh at 2pm, ahead of the Rebel hurlers’ clash with Tipperary.
Waterford will provide stiff opposition and Fergal O’Brien takes over the managerial reins from Donal O’Rourke, with Déise hurling legend Dan Shanahan taking over the coaching duties.
Paul Sexton gets his managerial reign at Limerick going in LIT Gaelic Grounds 4pm, after the Shannonsiders’ hurlers face Galway.
They will take on a Tipperary side welcoming back manager Bill Mullaney, who stood down for personal reasons at the beginning of the 2019 championship, Niamh Lillis deputising to good effect.
“We want our players playing in the best stadiums,” says McNulty. “We had a super attendance at our All-Ireland semi-finals at LIT Gaelic Grounds in Limerick and a record attendance at the finals at Croke Park. We have been working with our colleagues in the GAA for a number of years to make sure that our girls get to play in county grounds as often as possible.
“The bottom line is our inter-county players are our highest performing athletes. They’re the role models inspiring our players in the clubs. Girls in every club should have equal access to the facilities at a club they are members of and when they see it happening at the highest level, it helps get that message across.
"Our players train just as hard and as often as the men do so they should be able to demonstrate their skills in the best environment possible. We are very grateful to the GAA in this regard for hosting and facilitating us.
“What we need now is people to go along and see the skills and give their young girls an opportunity to witness the best performing in the best venues, that this is a dream that can be realised.
The importance of young girls seeing females participating in high-performance sport in the flesh, and on livestream from their homes, it can’t be quantified.
The Camogie Association will be streaming one Division 1 game a week live on its Facebook page, with the Limerick-Tipperary tie on show this weekend.
“Last year, the Camogie Association launched a communications strategy as part of our Development Plan. Getting more eyes on the game is one of the key objectives, so the Camogie Association is investing in our game by investing on the streaming services.
“People want to be able to watch the games and that impacts positively on attendances, so it is vital to facilitate that.”
Six new rules will be trialled throughout the Leagues.
“It was a momentous rule change at Congress last April to allow us do this. Nearly 2000 people made contributions as to regards how they felt we could improve the games, make them quicker and recognise the skill of players.
“We’ve had huge input from players, management, referees and had briefing sessions with them all.
“It will be a learning curve for everybody but the ethos behind them is to improve the game, recognise the skills of the players and speed things up a bit.
“We have review processes on a weekly basis and a big review at the end so we’ll be learning from every situation that arises, to allow camogie to be the best that it can be.”