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'It's not possible' - Camogie president defends call to scrap All-Ireland minor championship

Kathleen Woods says they took this decision in the interests of the club game.

The minor competitions will be played within the provinces this year.
The minor competitions will be played within the provinces this year.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

CAMOGIE PRESIDENT KATHLEEN Woods has defended the association’s decision to cancel the All-Ireland minor championship, saying “it’s not possible” to run the competition in 2020.

There was outrage when it was announced last month that the All-Ireland stage of the minor championships would not be completed this year. 

The opening two rounds of the competition had already been played before it was brought to a halt in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The remaining games will be played within the provinces while the All-Ireland senior and U16 championships will go ahead later this year. Many felt this decision was unfair and a petition was launched to have All-Ireland minor competition reinstated.  

At the time of the announcement, a spokesperson for the Camogie Association told The42 that a “limited timeframe” available in 2020 was among the factors behind the decision to cancel the All-Ireland minor championship.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1’s Saturday Sport, Woods reiterated that stance and spoke about the importance of prioritising the club game.

“Our number one focus was on clubs. Clubs are the heart and backbone of our association, so they took priority,” the camogie chief begam.

“We had several versions of a fixtures calendar as the Covid-19 situation worsened and the timescale from playing shortened. We knew it wasn’t going to be possible to fulfill all our fixtures, so sadly we had to cut the fixture list, and it wasn’t just the minors.

“There were other casualties, but the problem with the minor grade was there were still over 40 games that had to be played, and that was going to eat into serious time-management for other age groups and players.

“I love the minors, but they [the players] can also play senior with the club, play with second streams [intermediate and junior] of county teams, so the decision was taken that it wasn’t possible to complete.

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“We are trying to get a 12-month programme into six months. It’s not possible. Our main focus throughout the decision-making was to get as many players onto the pitch enjoying games as we possibly could.”

The 2020 All-Ireland senior camogie final will take place at Croke Park on 12 December, while the Intermediate and Premier Junior deciders will be played away from GAA headquarters.

All three finals are traditionally scheduled for the same day as part of a triple-header at Croke Park, but that will not be the case this year due to demands on the pitch.

The camogie association were offered two dates for their senior decider and selected the day that will precede the men’s All-Ireland senior final on 13 December.

“You can make an event a great day when there are two finals played together,” said Woods.

“The second date in December would have meant one final, most likely the junior, would be a stand-alone fixture, and that really didn’t appeal to the camogie family.” 

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