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Inter-county camogie players consider league boycott if controversial proposed fixture plan remains

The GPA welcomes the Camogie Association’s decision to reconsider the current season structure.

A general view of December's All-Ireland final.
A general view of December's All-Ireland final.

Updated May 2nd 2021, 8:40 PM

A LARGE COHORT of inter-county camogie players say they will boycott the National League if the Camogie Association follow through with its controversial proposed 2021 fixture plan.

In a statement this evening, the Gaelic Players Association [GPA] revealed that 84% of players who have responded to a survey voted that they will not participate in the Littlewoods Ireland Camogie Leagues later this month, should the current season structure be retained.

The league is set to kick off in two weeks’ time, on Saturday, 15 May.

It was revealed this weekend that the planned camogie schedule for 2021 is inter-county league, club championship and then inter-county championship, in that order, rather than the county-before-club split season the GAA and Ladies Gaelic Football Association [LGFA] have followed.

Earlier today, the under-fire Association appeared to be reconsidering its decision, confirming that it would poll its members over the next seven days after shipping heavy criticism from inter-county players — 82% of whom voted for a split season in a GPA survey — with the players’ body “seeking clarity from the Camogie Association”.

The GPA released a statement this evening:

“The Gaelic Players Association (GPA) welcome the Camogie Association’s decision to take seven days to reflect on their proposed season structure,” it reads.

“We are willing to work with them towards finding a satisfactory resolution to allow all players, both club and county, get back on to pitches across the country without any further controversy.

“Players have overwhelmingly voted (84% of 752 players who responded in last 24 hours) that they will not participate in the Littlewoods Ireland Camogie Leagues should the current season structure be retained.  The GPA will represent this view from our members to the Camogie Association. 

“We had recently informed (April 2nd) the Camogie Association that our members wanted to see a split-season introduced.  The key factors that influenced the split-season choice were:

  • Club AND County: Inter-county players are also club players.  They want to be able to give 100% commitment to either their club team or their county team during the respective windows.
  • Club Leagues: Players believe that club leagues should go ahead while the inter-county season is being played to ensure their club team-mates are able to participate in meaningful games across the summer.
  • Dual Players: Players should not be put in a position of having to choose inter-county football over club camogie or vice versa, or inter-county camogie over club football or vice versa.
  • Player Welfare

- There is an increased risk of injury when players are being exposed to additional demands where there is an overlap between club and county activity.

- A split-season facilitates a period of no activity that allows for rest and recuperation and benefits substantially the welfare of our members. 

“We want to see a solution that is in the best interest of all players which we believe the split season provides.”

The Camogie Association’s statement this afternoon noted that the result of its ongoing poll “will guide our fixture calendar”.

The statement, in full, reads:

“Our priority is to maximise meaningful games opportunity for all of our members, and to do this in a fair and equitable manner. One that ensures games for the county player, and games for the club player.

“Our proposed fixture list is designed to achieve this. However, over the last 48 hours there has been disquiet from the GPA and our inter-county players in relation to our fixture calendar.

“To gain clarity on the path the entire association wants to take during this Covid-19 time, we have decided to poll our members over the next seven days. This poll will be carried out through all camogie clubs, and the result will guide our fixture calendar.

“Details of this process will follow.” 

About the author:

Emma Duffy

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