St Rynagh's joy as agreement reached to conclude 2020 camogie championships

St Rynagh's joy as agreement reached to conclude 2020 camogie championships

St Rynagh's camogie team.

ST Rynagh's Camogie Club will get to play their 2020 Leinster Club Intermediate Championship campaign after an agreement was brokered last night between the Camogie Association and warring clubs.

A decision to cancel the 2020 provincial and All-Ireland club championships some weeks ago had been greeted with dismay and fury by clubs still involved.

The aggrieved clubs had decided to take their case to the Disputes Resolution Authority but a mediation meeting last night resulted in a compromise.

With former Director General of the GAA, Padraig Duffy acting as mediator, the Camogie Association and their angry clubs have agreed to play the 2020 championships in November following the end of the 2021 club county championships. The 2020 provincial and All-Ireland championships will conclude before the 2021 provincial campaigns start.

It is far from an ideal solution. It means that the 2021 provincial and All-Ireland club championships will run into 2022 and that will impact on the fixtures schedule for that year as well as the clubs who win their county championships later this year.

However, it is a compromise that is acceptable to the parties involved and it gives the 2020 club champions the opportunity to challenge for provincial and All-Ireland glory.

St Rynagh's are the Offaly senior camogie champions and they had been preparing for a Leinster intermediate fixture against Wexford's Rathnure when word came through that the championship was cancelled.

St Rynagh's players released an emotional statement, saying that they were “devastated and infuriated”. They wrote: “An association who pride themselves on creating an inclusive, enjoyable, vibrant, lifelong camogie experience through their club fixtures, has now completely closed the door off to its members at the core of its association. As players who have given so much to their club, and received even more in return, it’s hard to imagine how we can be treated with such blatant disregard.”

Initially, the Camogie Association had planned on finishing the 2020 championships, which were postponed because of Covid restrictions.

They 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.

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.

This suggestion, however, would have created big difficulties for county teams who are now in the midst of their National League campaigns.

The 35 clubs left in the various 2020 club championships then came together to take their case to the DRA but the successful end to the mediation process last night means that this won't happen now. Reaching agreement wasn't simple as a four hour meeting took place before a solution was found.

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