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'Disrespectful' camogie rule could end Dublin's All-Ireland campaign this weekend

WGPA calls on all parties to find a “better outcome” instead of controversial drawing of lots.

Shane O'Brien is very unhappy with the Camogie Association.
Shane O'Brien is very unhappy with the Camogie Association.
Image: Presseye/Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

Updated 17.15

AFTER THREE DAYS of confusion over how exactly the final All-Ireland senior camogie championship quarter-final position would be decided, Dublin manager Shane O’Brien has said his players are “distraught” to learn their future in the competition could be decided by the drawing of lots.

Last night, the Camogie Association confirmed that, should Clare beat Derry this weekend, they will draw lots to see if the Banner or Dublin will progress in the competition as the pair cannot be separated on the first two tie-breaking procedures following a 1-8 to 1-8 draw earlier in the competition.

The messy situation was met with public backlash on Thursday, with the Women’s Gaelic Players’ Association calling for a review if Sunday’s result leaves the counties tied in third place.

“Obviously there was a huge amount of confusion in recent days with the lack of clarity regarding certain procedures,” O’Brien said, speaking on RTÉ Morning Ireland.

“I think there were different interpretations in different parts of the country. Down in Clare they were led to believe it was going to be done on goal difference and other people felt that it would be done by the toss of a coin.

“Obviously we’re bitterly disappointed for the player’s welfare, for the sacrifices the players have made.”

O’Brien expressed particular concern at the timing of the decision as the Camogie Association has made great efforts to promote the game over the past number of years.

“[Camogie's] a fantastic game and we’ve made a massive effort to boost the image of it in the capital and throughout the country.

“We agreed to give up home advantage and agreed to play before the Dublin hurling team in Croke Park and there was a massive response from the hurling supporters and it’s just an example of the things that we’ve done to boost the image of the sport and it’s such a shame that this backwards step could undo all of the good work.

“And not just from Dublin camogie but the Camogie Association themselves to be fair have really made great efforts in recent years.”

However, his real concern is for the players who have trained so hard over the last few months.

“To be honest, [the players] are distraught really. They’ve given so much of their time, made so many sacrifices.

“We’ve met together as a group 93 times (this season) and it’s hugely disrespectful to the efforts the players have made. They’ve given up their lives for this competition and it’s devaluing the competition at this stage.”

The Dublin boss said there is an obvious alternative in a playoff but the whole affair could have been avoided had standard international practise been observed by the Camogie Association.

“There’s an established way of doing things in world sport where you’ve scoring difference and scoring averages.

“In rugby, the Triple Crown has been won on scoring difference, in soccer the Premier League has been won that way. In our own games — football and hurling — the league position can be determined by scoring. Personally I think this is the logical solution.

And O’Brien felt the decision could have a negative impact on the growth of the game.

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“At this stage I’d take anything [other than drawing lots]. It’s such an injustice that makes a mockery of the competition. Clare, I’m sure would be of a similar view. To go out on the toss of a coin just doesn’t make sense. 

“If you were to decide the outcome of an event in a summer camp it would turn kids sour against whatever sport they were playing. I just hope common sense will prevail. “

In a statement issued on Thursday afternoon, the WGPA said that they have been “working with the parties involved to try to find a positive resolution to the situation that may arise.

“We are very keen to avoid the drawing of lots to determine who goes through, as it is to the detriment of our games and detracts from the efforts the players involved have put in so far this season.

“Although the procedure for determining the final ranking has previously been agreed on by the county boards, we would welcome a review of the process, including full engagement with all parties involved on Monday July 27th, should Sunday’s result leave Clare and Dublin tied for third place.

“We will continue to work towards a better outcome.”

The Ladies Gaelic Football Association also issued a statement on Thursday after they agreed to reschedule an Intermediate Football qualifier should Clare progress to the camogie quarter-finals.

In the event of the Clare Camogie team qualifying for the All Ireland Quarter Final fixed for Saturday, August 1st the TG4 All Ireland Intermediate Qualifier between Clare and Limerick scheduled for the same date will instead be played on Friday, July 31st at a Clare venue. Should Clare fail to qualify for the All Ireland Camogie Quarter Finals the TG4 Intermediate Qualifier will go ahead as fixed for Saturday, August 1st.The potential clash of fixtures involving the Cork Ladies Footballers and Cork Camogie team on August 15th was also discussed. The Cork Ladies Footballers must first play Meath before any clash arises. Regardless of whether it is Cork or Meath that do play that fixture on August 15th it is one that TG4 will be broadcasting live on the day.The LGFA have a responsibility to our sponsors, broadcasters and the nearly 100 players affected by this fixture to give clarity regarding fixtures allowing counties and their management teams to plan their season as far in advance as possible. This is why the LGFA championship fixtures are agreed upon and released as early as November the previous year, it is impractical and unworkable to attempt to plan a fixture list based on possible clashes between different codes that may never arise.

The TG4 All Ireland Quarter Final fixed for August 15th between Galway and Cork/Meath will be going ahead on that day but the fixture will be played at 6pm to allow as much time as possible between camogie and ladies football fixtures.

The LGFA and Camogie Associations enjoy a very open and cordial relationship that allows for discussion and movement on either side as is the case with the Intermediate fixtures involving Clare, however, on occasion there are situations where clashes are unavoidable.

You can listen to the full Morning Ireland interview with Shane O’Brien here.

First published 11.59; additional reporting by Niall Kelly

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