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'It did feel like a kick in the stomach. We had genuine reasons to leave the panel'

Róisín Ambrose is part of a group of nine players who are unavailable to play for Limerick.

LIMERICK’S RÓISÍN AMBROSE has responded to comments made about her and her team-mates who recently decided to leave the county’s camogie team, saying that “it’s a kick in the stomach.”

roisin-ambrose-and-karen-kennedy Róisín Ambrose in action for Limerick earlier this year. Source: Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO

Ambrose is part of a group of nine players who have withdrawn their services from the Limerick camogie squad for various reasons.

She is joined by Niamh Mulcahy, Sarah Carey, Rebecca Delee, Karen O’Leary, Deborah Murphy, Laura Stack, Lisa Leonard and Katie Hennessy.

Ambrose has explained to The42 that she, along with three other players, stepped away over player welfare issues arising from dual club player concerns. 

“It wasn’t a decision that we made lightly,” she says. “Everyone would love to play for their county and represent the Limerick jersey.”

Limerick played their opening All-Ireland senior championship at the weekend, where they suffered a 1-12 to 0-12 defeat to Westmeath in Group 2. The Leinster outfit have been promoted to the senior ranks after becoming intermediate champions in 2019.

After the defeat, Limerick manager Paul Sexton told the Limerick Leader that he and his management team are not dwelling on the players who are unavailable for selection. 

“They have decided not to come in,” he said. “It’s not because we haven’t gone looking for them or anything like that – we have plenty time and we have gone out looking for players but for one of thing or another and there are genuine reasons for some and unfortunately there are others reasons for others and that’s probably got nothing to do with playing camogie.

“Anybody who refuses to play for Limerick, it’s very hard to keep going back and going back. We have gone plenty times to players and asked them.”

Ambrose says it was difficult to watch her team play against Westmeath and would love to have been playing. But she was also disappointed by Sexton’s remarks and expressed her feelings about the matter on Twitter.

“When we heard the interview the other day and that we were ‘refusing to play for Limerick’ and that we didn’t really have much of a reason to have left the panel, it was infuriating to hear that. 

“It is something that needs to be sorted, the whole dual player concern. We always hear about county dual players but there’s club dual players and it’s so common.

It did feel like a kick in the stomach. We had genuine reasons to leave the panel. It’s one of those feelings where I don’t even know what to say.”

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Remarking on those dual club player issues that prompted her to withdraw from the Limerick panel, Ambrose says it relates to fixture problems that occurred this year.

“So it was during the final phase of the club season,” she begins, “We just felt like our player welfare was put at serious risk at a very important stage of the club season. 

“We had three club football teams involved, we all play for different club teams.They had three matches in eight days. Obviously the fixtures are set, they were all grand. Then a match had to be cancelled, and our camogie county board set a match that just didn’t suit us at all, and didn’t consider us in the process.

It felt like the players had no voice. Our club official and even our own players contacted the county board but it just felt like they didn’t want to hear about our concerns. That’s where the final straw came from to make the decision to leave the panel.”

Ambrose says she approached management about her concerns and was told that they would try to work out a solution for her.

She adds that she “didn’t really hear anything about it” afterwards before eventually making the difficult decision to leave the squad.

“Obviously they’re [management] limited and can’t really be making those calls but we thought that maybe county board might give a slight interest in us. But it just felt that the match had to be played and it didn’t matter what the players wanted.”

As things stand, Limerick’s next championship outing is scheduled for this Sunday against Waterford where a victory is crucial for Sexton’s charges.

Ambrose ultimately wants to play for her county again but suspects she will have to wait for this situation to be resolved further down the line.

“Obviously, I’d love to play camogie but between now and Sunday, I don’t think there’s a way it could be fixed.

 ”We just want to see respect between everyone.

“If someone does have a problem or there’s concerns in the team or a player is concerned and has to go to the county board about it, first of all that they’d listen to it, and second that they try to come up with a solution for the concern or the problem.”

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