KERRY CAMOGIE - WHERE IT ALL BEGAN...........
Camogie in Kerry was first recorded in the late 1920’s when in 1927, Kerry played Cork in the first ever Munster Championship Final. The game ended in a draw, with the replay going Kerry’s way. However during the 30’s & 40’s with emigration, marriage and family commitments, Camogie dwindled, and ultimately died out. In the early 60’s it was revived with a Co.Board set up, and 10 clubs affiliated to the Board. Co Teams were fielded with Mary Geaney (Castleisland) and Monica Leahy (Causeway) representing Kerry on Inter Provincial Teams during that time. Indeed Mary went onto have a glittering sporting career, during which she won Ashbourne Cups with UCC, 4 Senior Co.Championship medals with Eire Og (Cork), 3 Senior All Ireland Camogie Medals with Cork, (capt in 1980) played Hockey for Ireland (capt in 1982) and represented Munster in Badminton and Golf. The club scene was vibrant with many a tough encounter on the playing fields between Causeway and Ballyduff along with Castleisland who had a very strong teams in those days. Monica Leahy was presented with the sports star of the year for Kerry in 1971 with the honour going to Mary Geaney in ’72. Other clubs were formed in Castlegregory, Clahane, Ardfert, Kilmoyley Killarney, Clahane and Brosna, all bringing great fanfare to the matches and huge support.
Again emigration and work commitments meant the last club match was played in 1977 with Causeway winning the Senior Co. Championship for an impressive 5th time.The dust settled on Camogie until 2006, when the then Munster Development Officer Mary o Connor came to Kerry with a plan. Revive this great game firstly in the hurling stronghold of North Kerry, and spread the gospel to other non traditional areas of the County. So in 2007 Causeway, Cillard (Kilmoyley/Ardfert) and Abbeylix (Abbeydorney/Lixnaw) clubs were formed as was a County Board. A Kerry team competed in Feile na nGeal in 2007 and reached the final. In 2008, Laune Rangers and Kenmare came on board, along with Duagh, blitz’s were held by all the clubs for all ages and and a Kerry team won Feile na nGeal in 2008 with Marie Quirke as Captain. Earlier that week Marie Captained Kerry to an U14 All Ireland Football title so a little bit of history made that weekend. In 2009, Kenmare and Laune Rangers disbanded due to one thing and another , with Duagh still fielding teams. 2009 saw Kerry win another National Feile na nGael title with Captain Aoife Fitzgerald from Cillard presented with the trophy from President Joan o Flynn. 2010 saw Duagh disband in order to facilitate a Listowel town club with Feale Gaels affiliating later that year. 2010 also saw Cillard take the National Feile na nGael title with ease, as Orla Young Captained the team. Competing in Div 4, they would have ably accounted for themselves in a much higher division such was their skill level shown that weekend in the Banner County in heatwave conditions. Croke Park beckoned our young U14 starlets in July as part of the school of excellence National program, and they made the famous pitch their own ,exhibiting all they had learned since the age of 6. Artane Band, 8 Counties, guided tour of the stadium, chats with inter county stars from Cork, and Kerri o Shea from Causeway to Captain the team. She walked up the Hogan Steps to meet the president and was presented with a memento of the day for the team. It was also the year a Co.Development Officer was elected to the Board and with Abbeylix deciding to call it a day, an uphill struggle was on the cards. 3 clubs disbanded, 2 clubs well established, 1 club newly affiliated. Snakes and ladders spring to mind, but hope is always eternal in sport..
2010 – Present day: 6 thriving clubs are now firmly established in Kerry. Primary School coaching, along with 2nd level schools Camogie played by Causeway Comprehensive, Milltown and Corca Duibhne. Limerick Co. Board must be thanked for their continued co-operation in allowing our club teams play in their various competitons. Co.Teams being fielded at all grades, growing media interest and sponsorship,2011 Poc Fada Munster Champion, 2011 U16 Munster Final player of the match in our midst the future of the game looks very bright.
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