12th January 2006

Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, John O’Donoghue, T.D., today officially launched an initiative by Cumann Camógaíochta na nGael to start camogie in Kerry.  Forming part of the Association’s Strategic Plan the “Camogie for the Kingdom…….Bring it On” campaign is focusing on establishing camogie in primary schools in North Kerry, traditionally a strong hurling area. 

Speaking at a photo call to launch the initiative in the Brehon Hotel, Killarney, on Thursday, 12th January, 2006, the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, John O’Donoghue, T.D.  said: “I am delighted with this initiative to promote camogie in Kerry.  Every opportunity should be presented to young girls to participate in all sports. A great deal of work is being carried out to get camogie off the ground by the Camogie Association with tremendous co-operation from the GAA and the Kerry Local Sports Partnership. The Government is committed to the promotion of our native Gaelic Games, in particular camogie and hurling, and proved this commitment last year when €1.5m was allocated towards a development strategy for the sports in 2005. Camogie is the sport of choice for thousands of girls throughout Ireland and with the Government’s commitment to promoting women's sport, I look forward to seeing the game of camogie going from strength to strength including here in Kerry.” 

The highlight of the initiative, involving 14 primary schools in North Kerry, is a one-day blitz which takes place on Saturday January 21st in Causeway Comprehensive Secondary School.  Regional Development Co-ordinator with the Camogie Association, Mary O’Connor, recently appointed following the allocation of additional funding from the Irish Sports Council, has generated interest in camogie through school visits, training sessions since last November as well as art and essay competitions.   Munster Camogie Council is working to put a structure in place that will lead to the creation of camogie clubs feeding from these primary schools.  This will then lead to the establishment of a county board.   

Speaking at the launch Camogie President, Miriam O’Callaghan, said: “Our strategic plan outlines our goals up to 2008.  One of these goals is to establish a county board structure in Kerry for camogie.  The ‘Camogie for the Kingdom’ initiative has already generated huge interest in getting schoolgirls in Kerry interested in camogie and I have no doubt that with the work of Munster Council in co-operation with the GAA and the Kerry LSP that camogie will become the number one sport for many girls in Kerry.”

Eamonn Browne, Cathaoirleach of Cumann Camógaíochta na nGael Comhairle na Mumhan said: “We are delighted to be in Kerry tonight for a new beginning for camogie in Kerry.  Camogie has a very strong tradition in Munster and we hope that in the future all counties will play the game to the same high level.  We are delighted to be working closely with the GAA on this initiative and look forward to working on this project and to the establishment of a county board here in Kerry.”

Camogie was first played in Kerry shortly after Cumann Camógaíochta na nGael was founded in 1904.  The Kerry County Board was established in 1929 when 7 clubs affiliated.  Kerry enjoyed its best days on the camogie fields prior to 1960.  Kerry’s best known camogie player is Mary Geaney. Mary played with Castleisland and Kerry before getting Munster Council’s permission to play with Éire Óg in Cork. Mary went on to win 3 All-Ireland senior medals with Cork and captained the side to All Ireland victory in 1980.

President of the GAA Seán Kelly welcomed the initiative and said “Over the last number of years, the Camogie Association has made great strides in terms of increased participation in the game. The Association’s Strategic Review, the fresh impetus provided during the Centenary year and the appointment of a number of extra full time personnel has given everyone involved with Camogie a fresh confidence which will stand to the game as it prepares to face the challenges of the future. I salute the work of the Munster Camogie Council and those involved in Kerry in developing this new initiative and I am confident that their combined efforts will have positive results for the development of Camogie and Gaelic Games in general in North Kerry.”

The “Camogie for the Kingdom Fun Day” takes place on Saturday January 21st in Causeway Comprehensive Secondary School from 11am to 3.30pm.  Special guests on the day will include All Ireland camogie winner Elaine Burke who captained Cork to success this year, the legendary Tipperary All Star and member of the Team of the Century Deirdre Hughes and Tipperary All Ireland medal winner Sheena Howard.