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'It's all moving in the right direction,' as camogie All-Star Tour to New York announced

Top stars welcomed today’s news that the trip will head Stateside in November.

THE 2019 CAMOGIE All-Star Tour is heading for New York in November, the Association and their sponsors Liberty Insurance announced this afternoon.

Cait Devane, Grace Walsh, Gemma O'Connor, Sarah Dervan and Aisling Maher The camogie All-Star Tour is headed Stateside. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

The Tour will see the 2018 and 2019-winning All-Star teams face off in an exhibition match in the Big Apple, after the first-ever edition to Madrid in November 2017.

While the 2018 All-Star team was announced at the annual awards ceremony after last year’s season, there’s plenty of camogie to be played this summer before the 2019 team is finalised.

The All-Ireland championships were launched at Liberty Insurance HQ in Blanchardstown today, with the sponsors also announcing that they will live-stream six group stage games of the senior competition on their Facebook page.

This means that there will be a match covered every round, with RTÉ showing live matches on TV from the quarter-final stage right through to the final in Croke Park on 8 September.

Players in attendance noted that things are definitely going in the right way for camogie, with excitement well and truly building around the livestreaming and of course, the Stateside Tour.

“It’s fantastic,” 2018 All-Star and Tipperary star Cáit Devane told The42 of the upcoming trip at this afternoon’s launch.

When the announcement was made there earlier we were all looking around in a bit of shock really initially but it’s excitement too. It’s great up here, you’re meeting some of the players that you’re generally enemies inside the white lines with.

“But you meet them at a thing like this and you’re looking forward to a trip like New York, you realise that you’re all quite similar underneath it all. Look, it’ll be a fantastic trip. It’s only the second year of it, and to have such a great trip ahead of us will be fantastic. Really looking forward to it.”

She added that it was “massive” to be showcasing camogie across the pond: 

“The games — the GAA, camogie and ladies football — have a fantastic body out in New York and I suppose this will be an opportunity now for them people to see it first-hand.

It can only mean a positive impact out there as well. I’m sure they’ll be delighted to welcome us and see the game in the flesh out in Gaelic Park, please God.

Cork captain Gemma O’Connor, who travelled to Spain last time out, echoed her words to The42:

“Look, going away with the All-Stars, I think, is vital. It’s a great opportunity for the players at the end of the year.

Gemma O'Connor Cork captain Gemma O'Connor. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

“Some teams win, some teams lose and it’s a massive award for an individual to get that. Then, to get the trip is fantastic. It’s a massive opportunity for players that don’t really see eye-to-eye on the pitch and then to come together and really get to know each other, to expand that respect that you have for each other. It’s a massive opportunity.

Then from a PR point-of-view for the Camogie Association, to go to New York is massive. Look, it’s all moving in the right direction. You just hope that it continues that way and hopefully in the next few years, there’ll be many more trips.

“It’s class,” Waterford’s Beth Carton, the Déise’s first-ever camogie All-Star recipient, added. “Jesus, thrilled to hear.

“You wouldn’t get a major opportunity to go away during the year because you’re flat out between training and working, so it’ll be fab to get an opportunity to go away. It’s a right chance to meet different people from other teams as well.”

While there were whispers surrounding steps towards potential rule changes and other improvements across the board on the day, Camogie Association President Kathleen Woods was keen to focus on the positive ones confirmed in terms of the All-Star Tour and live-streaming.

The Tour is an opportunity to reward players for their dedication, skill and passion for the game for which they are all true role models, and to continue to spread the game to new audiences in North America,” she said. 

“I am also very pleased to see the continued growth of the coverage of the All-Ireland Championship with Liberty Insurance’s investment in live-streaming which will bring our game to audiences not only at home but across the world on a weekly basis this summer.

“I am excited for the championships to begin as we look forward to another exciting summer that will culminate in Croke Park on Sunday, 8 September when we hope that the sports public will go together in large numbers to our All-Ireland Finals which are the pinnacle of a player’s career.”

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