St Rynagh's before their 2019 ALl-Ireland intermediate final defeat.
ST Rynagh's and other aggrieved camogie clubs are to head to the Disputes Resolution Authority in a bid to force camogie bosses to play off the 2020 provincial and All-Ireland club championships.
The clubs were dismayed when the championships were cancelled last week in the wake of a national poll of clubs to decide the format of the 2021 camogie season.
Initially, it had been planned to finish off the 2020 championships. The National Camogie Association had proposed a fixtures schedule that would have seen the inter-county leagues followed by the AIB Club championships and then the inter-county championship.
However, a poll was then taken of all clubs in the country to decide on the best schedule. Two options were presented to clubs and the second one was accepted. This had the national leagues followed by the inter-county championships and then the club season – following in the path set by their GAA colleagues.
The outstanding 2020 championships were cancelled in the wake of this but the clubs left in them have reacted furiously. Offaly senior champions St Rynagh's were preparring for a Leinster club intermediate championship fixture against Rathnure of Wexford and their players released an emotive statement, stating that they were “devastated and infuriated”.
The six clubs left in the senior championship, Loughiel, Drom and Inch, Thomastown, Inagh Kilnamona, Sarsfields and Oulart- The Ballagh, also called on the camogie association to complete the 2020 competitions. In a letter, they suggested that they be completed in June with the final on the last weekend of the month. They also suggested that counties in the National Leagues should line out without players from their club championships.
Now the 35 clubs left in the various 2020 club championships have come together to take their case to the DRA. They have released a statement, claiming that there was a three week window to complete the championships from June 7 to 27.
“A representative group of six of the clubs affected also asked for a meeting with the president and the four provincial chairpersons but were refused that request. The 35 clubs again wrote to the Ard Comhairle befgore a meeting of the Ard Comhairle on Wednesday 19 May asking it to reverse its decision to cancel the championships. It appears that the Ard Comhairle has decided not to reverse its decision,” they stated.
They acknowledged the difficulties the Association faces in administering affairs because of Covid-19 but felt their proposed alternative was a reasonable one. Confirming that they were going to the DRA, they concluded: “The clubs are the heart of our sport and we want players to have the opportunity to play at the highest level available to them.”
In the national poll to decide on the format, 62% of clubs had responded with 53% voting for option 2, which resulted in the decision being taken to cancel the 2020 provincial and All-Ireland club championships.
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