# R and R
'We just want to get away': All-Ireland champions Kilkenny launch team holiday fundraiser
Brian Dowling says his side deserve a trip after lifting the O’Duffy Cup for the second time in three years.

KILKENNY CAMOGIE MANAGER Brian Dowling says his players deserve a team holiday to celebrate their All-Ireland triumph.

kilkenny-players-celebrates-with-the-o-duffy-cup Bryan Keane / INPHO Kilkenny players celebrating their All-Ireland victory. Bryan Keane / INPHO / INPHO

The Cats lifted the O’Duffy Cup last month after edging out their rivals Cork to win back the crown after their 2020 success, and have now created a GoFundMe page aimed at raising €40,000 to fund a team holiday “in the coming months”

Dowling says that this is an “ambitious” challenge for the team to undertake but emphasises the importance of his side getting an appropriate reward after winning their second All-Ireland title in three years.

“We just want to get away for a few days,” he told The42. ”It’s what they deserve for the effort they put in.

“There isn’t any funding anywhere for the holiday, so if the girls want to go on a holiday, they have to raise the money themselves. I was talking to some of the players and they’d love to go away for a break and we’re trying to raise money [for that]. It’s very ambitious to try and raise the funds, and the girls are trying to come up with different fundraising ideas themselves.

I mentioned it last week in another interview that it would be great if there was some sort of funding for them but it’s not there. I think people thought I was talking about the GAA but that’s a different organisation, so we weren’t expecting that. It’s just if there was something put in place going forward for the winning and losing teams in an All-Ireland final, that would be brilliant.

“We’re saying all the time that we want camogie to get up to the standard of the hurlers, and I know that’s not going to happen for a long time because of the attendances and things like that. But, for the effort they put in, the contribution to a holiday fundraiser would be absolutely brilliant and the girls would really appreciate it.”

Tommy Shefflin, who is part of the Kilkenny backroom team, has spoken about this issue recently and referred to the holiday grants which are allocated to teams who reach the GAA All-Ireland finals. The Camogie Association is a separate organisation, although a motion submitted by the GPA to prioritise integration with the LGFA and Camogie Association was passed at the GAA’s Annual Congress this year, with 89.8% supporting the motion.

Dowling has reiterated the difference between the two associations but added that it’s important to highlight these problems in order to promote change.

“Since I’ve been involved, I’ve been trying to raise the standards in Kilkenny [with] what they’re getting. In fairness, our county board is absolutely brilliant and anything I’ve asked for, I’ve gotten it within reason. They’re very good to us and they look after us. There’s food after every training, they get gear at the start of the year and all those little things. It’s just to keep it going and if we don’t say anything about it, nothing’s ever going to change.

I’d love to be able to look back in five years time and see that all teams are getting money for a holiday and I think that’s the way it should be. Whether it will change or not, I don’t know but if we don’t speak about it, nothing’s going to change. People think we’re looking for money off the GAA, but that’s not it.

“These girls went away in 2016 and that was the last holiday they had. They’ve won two All-Irelands in three years and didn’t get to celebrate the last one so it would be great for them to get away. But it’s going to be very hard to do the fundraising and we have to do it all before the October mid-term break so it’s going to be very difficult. I don’t know if it’s going to be possible but the girls are going to try and we’re going to help them in every way we can.”

brian-dowling-with-his-kids Evan Treacy / INPHO Brian Dowling pictured with his children after the All-Ireland camogie final. Evan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Dowling is set for a fourth season in charge of Kilkenny having been put forward for ratification to remain in charge for the 2023 season. The two-time All-Ireland winner with the Kilkenny hurlers has overseen a successful period so far with the camógs, and has implemented a winning culture in the team.

Dowling feels that there is more silverware to chase down as Kilkenny manager.

“I sit down with the county board at the end of every year and make a one-year plan and go from there. I took a few weeks to try and decide whether staying or going was the right thing to do, and I just felt that there’s still more in the team and we can get a lot better. And even the way things finished after the All-Ireland final with the celebrations and the homecoming and goodwill from Kilkenny people – it was just brilliant and really special. Kilkenny camogie is in a good place and I feel that now would be the wrong time to walk away.

“There’s more to be done. It’s hard to win an All-Ireland any year and whenever I do step away, it’s going to be a very difficult decision. But I don’t feel now is the right time and I’m looking forward to 2023.”

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