Cork minor camogie manager Jerry Wallace has branded the Camogie Association a “tired governing body” after he was refused an appeal hearing to contest the decision to abandon this year’s All-Ireland minor camogie championship.
Wallace was informed on Friday that his request for a hearing to appeal the decision taken by Ard Chomhairle last month had been turned down.
In an email to Wallace setting out why no appeal was being allowed, Camogie Association Ard Stiúrthóir Sinéad McNulty pointed to Rule 10.5 (p) of the game’s Official Guide, which states that the roles and responsibilities of Ard Chomhairle include controlling All-Ireland competitions, and Rule 5.1, ‘There shall be no appeal against a decision of Ard Chomhairle or of any unit implementing such a decision’.
The Cork manager confirmed to thehe would not be taking the matter to the Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA) and was now drawing a line under his efforts to have the competition reinstated.
The 11-team All-Ireland minor camogie championship was two-rounds old when the sporting world ground to a halt in mid-March.
In a statement to this newspaper last month, the Camogie Association highlighted the crossover of minor players with adult inter-county teams as one of the key reasons why the 2020 minor championship was not being restarted when inter-county activity resumes from mid-October.
Provincial championships will be organised for minor camogie teams later in the year and while Cork will compete in the Munster competition, Wallace remains adamant that an All-Ireland championship should have been played.
In his letter seeking an appeal, the 2018 and 2019 All-Ireland minor camogie winning manager cited Rule 2.3 of the Camogie Association Official Guide Part 1. This rule states that ‘The core values guiding the Association are: (a) inclusiveness'; and ‘(c) equality in accordance with relevant equality legislation and fair play’. He also made reference to Rule 10.5 (t) ‘promotion of best practice in player welfare’.
Wallace, reflecting on the decision to deny him an appeal hearing, said the association “ran for cover and buried the appeal with their own rule, which protects the members of Ard Chomhairle”.
He continued: “I was aware and conscious of the rule which states that there shall be no appeal against a decision of Ard Chomhairle. That rule does protect the Ard Chomhairle, but I was hoping we'd still be able to get a hearing and gain a better understanding as to why the decision was made.
“As a member of the association, you cannot actually challenge the Ard Chomhairle. There is a tired administration up there. I think the organisation is very tired, and didn't want a challenge.
“I think they realise they have made a mistake because of the lobbying that went on and are not big enough to change it. The issues we raised in seeking the appeal, particularly in the rule pertaining to equality, they ran from that.
“It is a wrong decision to get rid of a competition like this. It reflects a tired governing body, a governing body that doesn't want to take on the challenges of putting in the fixtures. It is up to managers to arrange their teams, to get their players out, and to work with other managers in the county. To me, that should be our worry, not theirs. But they have cited this as their problem - the fixtures affecting other teams in the association at inter-county level. That is only codswallop.”
Despite collective disappointment among county minor managers, there will be no further challenges to the decision.
“The only option is the DRA, but we are not going down that avenue. We move on now. We have to drive on and make the best use of the provincial competition for the development of the young players. That is all we can do. We need to bring closure to it. We tried, we weren't successful, and now we move on. While they have given us provincial championships, they need to do something else, as well, a gesture of goodwill. The association should make two All-Ireland senior camogie final tickets available to each minor player, for her and a parent, on the back of this decision.”