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'It is disappointing. It's a great opportunity for someone to get involved in women’s sport'

The All-Ireland camogie championships will not have a title sponsor for 2021.

Kilkenny's Denise Gaule.
Kilkenny's Denise Gaule.
Image: Sam Barnes/SPORTSFILE

Updated Jul 21st 2021, 8:43 AM

KILKENNY STAR DENISE Gaule has expressed her disappointment at the absence of a title sponsor for the 2021 All-Ireland camogie championships, but says this is also an “opportunity for someone to get involved in women’s sport.”

Camogie Association President Hilda Breslin revealed the news last week after Liberty Insurance ended its eight-year association with the competitions earlier this year.

Breslin said at the time that they are looking to secure a new sponsor on a of “three to five years” and insisted that the lack of a sponsor this year will not have an adverse impact on the Camogie Association’s financial health.

Gaule, who was crowned senior camogie Player of the Year last year, says the situation won’t have a major impact on players but adds that it is an unfortunate development for the sport.

She also believes that it paves the way for another business or service to step forward as the new backer for the flagship competitions in camogie.

“It’s not going to affect anyone on the pitch or that, but there probably is talk around it and probably would happened at the start of the year with camogie as well probably didn’t paint it in the best light, either. It is disappointing. I’d see it as a great opportunity for someone to get involved in women’s sport.

“I’m sure the camogie are trying their best as well to get somebody involved. It’s disappointing from their perspective as well, and hopefully they just get something sorted now for next year. It’s not going to impact on our plans or preparations during championship or that.

“Hopefully, going forward, someone will see it as a great opportunity to get involved with women’s sport. It’s getting bigger and bigger, the camogie. With the ladies football, the sponsorships they have are brilliant, so hopefully they can learn and take a bit from them as well and progress it on another bit more.”

Kilkenny opened up their championship campaign with a six-point win over Clare to get their All-Ireland defence off to an ideal start. They also have Group 3 outings against Westmeath and All-Ireland finalists Galway to come after picking up the Division 1 crown in June.

That result followed on from their O’Duffy Cup success in December.

After three years of suffering defeats in All-Ireland finals, Kilkenny have now racked up back-to-back wins in major finals. Gaule isn’t quite sure where their newfound hunger to close out crunch games derives from, but she says the belief they draw from manager Brian Dowling has certainly helped to change their fortunes. 

“It’s a hard one to put your finger on, really. I suppose when you look at it we lost the All-Ireland there a few years ago by one point. You could be turning around and saying ‘we could have had three-in-a-row.’ So we weren’t so far off it. I think when Brian came in he just really gave us belief, much more so with the younger girls on the panel – there are always chances there for them to play.

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“I suppose last year the girls who got their chances they just really took it and stood up, and probably took a lot of pressure off the older girls, that we didn’t really have to carry the team, whereas before it might have been just the same few kind of taking the scores and that. So it was really the young girls getting into the panel and got chances.

“It’s great to have young ones coming in there now. Obviously Anne (Dalton) and Anna (Farrell) were massive losses, they’d been there for years. At the start of the year we kind of looked at it and the lads were saying, ‘Look, that’s two places now up for grabs.’ If you get a chance you want to take it and the young girls have taken any chance that was given to them. They’re brilliant and they drove on all of us who were there for years.”

Denise Gaule was speaking at the launch of the John West Féile, 2021 at Croke Park

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