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Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019
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'A massive step' - 8 counties represented in historic camogie All-Star trip to Madrid

‘It’s a really positive step in the right direction.’

Aoife Murray, Rebecca Hennelly and Aisling Maher at today's launch.
Aoife Murray, Rebecca Hennelly and Aisling Maher at today's launch.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

NEXT WEEK WILL see another piece of history written in camogie.

Two teams made up of the country’s top players are headed for Madrid on the first-ever Liberty Insurance Camogie All-Star tour.

All-Star tours are a regular in GAA and ladies football, and camogie are now set to embark on that venture with the 2016 and 2017 All-Star winners — as well as several nominees — facing off in an exhibition match overseas.

With eight counties represented, they set off on their travels on Wednesday, 29 November and the match will take place in Universidad Complutense de Madrid on Thursday, 30 November.

Cork veteran goalkeeper Aoife Murray, who won a remarkable seventh All-Star this year, is relishing the experience.

“I’m really, really looking forward to it,” she said at this morning’s launch in Croke Park.

“It is (a big step for camogie) and I think it’s probably reflective of all of the work that’s been done behind the scenes that I know, as a player, I probably don’t see and don’t appreciate either.

“Even this year seeing the quarter-finals on TV, it just shows again, just how much we are progressing.

Aoife Murray Aoife Murray. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“I’m delighted now a few of the older girls are going as well,” the 34-year-old grins. “We’ve been on about it for years!

“I think it’s great that we get a chance to actually mix with people that we’re normally beating the crap out of in the summer months. That’s what I’m actually really looking forward to.

“Being able to go play a camogie match in Madrid is pretty cool. I certainly never thought I’d be doing it.”

First-time All-Star and Dublin forward Aisling Maher was also present at the launch.

“It’s something that we’ve been lacking in camogie that the other codes have had over the last few years,” she told the media,

“It’s definitely a really positive step, a massive step for camogie in the right direction to see players getting rewarded for the effort they’ve put in all year and to see camogie as a sport being promoted outside of Ireland. It’s great.

“Apart from the fact that players are going over and playing in another country, it also promotes it within the country as well. You get younger players and they see that we’re going off on this trip and it promotes the interest internally as well as externally from that point of view.

“It sets it as more of a goal for younger players, it’s more of a big deal and something they want to strive to.”

Galway’s Rebecca Hennelly will represent the 2016 All-Stars having collected her first award at right half-back last year.

Catherine Neary, Aoife Murray, Rebecca Hennelly, Aisling Maher and Deirdre Ashe The trip takes place from 29 November-2 December. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“It’s great,” she echoed the others’ words. “Really looking forward to it. It’s unbelievable like. We never get anything like this, it’s the first trip and I’m glad to be a part of it.

“The game of camogie is improving every year and this is another (step). I couldn’t believe it when I got the email, I was like, ‘Jesus!’ It’s unreal, it’s massive.

“I suppose (younger) girls looking up, and seeing us going to Madrid, they’ll be thinking, ‘I want to stick at this to be going away with other girls.’ It’s brilliant.”

The management teams of the 2016 and 2017 winners Kilkenny and Cork will lead the sides, with Ann Downey and Paudie Murray leading the troops.

Antrim’s Owen Elliott who refereed this year’s senior All-Ireland final will take charge of the exhibition match.

There’ll be plenty more involved on Tour, which includes a visit to the Irish Embassy while being hosted by Madrid Harps GAA Club. They return home on Saturday, 2 December.

2017 All-Stars Team:

  • Aoife Murray (Cork)
  • Tara Kenny (Galway)
  • Catherine Foley (Kilkenny)
  • Laura Treacy (Cork)
  • Gemma O’Connor (Cork)
  • Máire McGrath (Clare)
  • Eimear O’Sullivan (Cork)
  • Meighan Farrell (Kilkenny)
  • Ashling Thompson (Cork)
  • Chloe Morey (Clare)
  • Katie Power (Kilkenny)
  • Amy O’Connor (Cork)
  • Ailish O’Reilly (Galway)
  • Aisling Maher (Dublin)
  • Aoife Donohue (Galway)

2016 All-Stars Team:

  • Emma Kavanagh (Kilkenny)
  • Sarah O’Connor (Wexford)
  • Sarah Dervan (Galway)
  • Collette Dormer (Kilkenny)
  • Rebecca Hennelly (Galway)
  • Anne Dalton (Kilkenny)
  • Miriam Walsh (Kilkenny)
  • Orla Cotter (Cork)
  • Michaela Morkan (Offaly)
  • Shelley Kehoe (Wexford)
  • Denise Gaule (Kilkenny)
  • Niamh Mulcahy (Limerick)
  • Tina Hannon (Offaly)
  • Kate Kelly (Wexford)

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

‘The lads will be gutted’ – another tough day at the office for Waterford hurlers

‘It’s actually crazy when you think of where we were’ – the rise of Na Piarsaigh

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Emma Duffy

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