Dublin camogie manager Adrian O’Sullivan says the association has avoided a messy dual clash by implementing the split season structure for 2021 instead of the initial league-club-inter-county template.
Results of a poll seeking the optimum fixtures template for the season ahead were revealed by the Camogie Association yesterday after the organisation took stock of the feedback that followed their original schedule plan which saw club activity sandwiched between the two intercounty competitions.
The poll results revealed a tight contest – 53% of clubs favoured the split season, but 47% were happy with the first proposal, which would have seen club players return to action much earlier.
However, the fact that over 80% of inter-county players were unhappy with the staggered initial schedule, and flagged potential strike action, meant that further unrest was looming had the split season model not prevailed.
O’Sullivan, the Dublin and UL Ashbourne Cup manager, told RTÉ Sport that the original proposal would have meant a clash for dual players between club camogie and inter-county football – one that would have been best avoided.
“Firstly, I’d like to congratulate the players from all counties who stuck to their guns and stood up for themselves,” he said.
“Future generations will thank them for this.
“From chatting to Dublin players and chatting to players from the different counties that we have in UL, everyone is very happy with the outcome.
“There were huge player welfare issues with option one. The length of the season being one and the short turnaround to next year being the other.”
“Women’s Gaelic Games has a small playing pool and in dual counties it was going to be very messy asking our players to choose their county over club when the inter-county camogie and club football would clash in October and November.”
O’Sullivan welcomed yesterday’s poll which gives the green light to the inter-county leagues beginning this weekend, followed by the intercounty championship and then a separate segment of the calendar for club activity.
But he says progress can still be made.
“Option two has room for improvement,” he maintained.
“There is no reason the club championship can’t start as counties get eliminated from the championship, or that last year’s All-Ireland club championship couldn’t be included as part of the programme of games also.
“But, overall, it was a positive day and I’m glad the players can focus on the National League that starts Saturday. For ourselves that means a trip to play the All-Ireland champions which will focus the minds for sure.”
???? Fixtures Update
The Camogie Association confirms the outcome of the 2021 Fixtures poll of clubs.https://t.co/BW8pMAUdqE
— Camogie Association (@OfficialCamogie) May 11, 2021
O’Sullivan’s appointment is an astute one.
Silverware has been a constant companion in the Limerick man’s coaching journey. He is the current manager of the UL Ashbourne Cup team with whom he has won successive titles in 2019 and 2020.
As part of Joe Quaid’s set up with the Limerick camogie side, he helped develop the minor team to a first ever Minor ‘A’ All-Ireland win in 2014. Later that year, he coached the county’s intermediate side to All-Ireland success also.
O’Sullivan also had a role with the successful Kilkenny camogie side who won the Intermediate championship in 2016.
In hurling, working with Quaid, more success was experienced with a Christy Ring Cup win for the Kildare hurlers before being part of the Quaid set-up that guided Westmeath to promotion to the top tier of the League in 2019.
O’Sullivan has also been involved in club successes – with Thomastown in Camogie and Clonkill in hurling.
There is work to do for the season ahead. Last year, Dublin lost both of their group games to Clare and Tipperary, but O’Sullivan says he has received a huge response from the players since taking charge.