writes Liam Grainger
Three UCC graduates were represented in this year’s camogie All-Star awards. Hannah Looney, Orla Cronin, and Chloe Sigerson were all recognized at last weekend’s Liberty Insurance Camogie All-Stars ceremony. The ceremony, which was held virtually this year due to public health restrictions, saw last year’s champions Kilkenny dominate the honours list with six players represented on the selected fifteen. Galway, runners up in last year’s final, surprisingly only took home two awards, with defeated semi-finalists Cork and Tipperary both receiving three accolades. Kilkenny’s Denise Gaule received the Players’ Player of the Year Award, in recognition of her game-winning heroics in last December’s final. This was Sigerson’s second All-Star award, while it was the first honour for both Cronin and Looney, despite multiple nominations in recent years.
All three of Cork’s representatives have represented the college at Ashbourne level in recent years, and have been part of UCC teams that have come so narrowingly close in finals. Between 2015 and 2019, UCC’s Ashbourne teams lost four consecutive finals, losing out by only two points to UL in 2017. All three players played starring roles in Cork’s 2020 campaign, which saw them reach the semi-final stage of the competition and lose out to eventual winners Kilkenny. Cork have failed to reach the final since 2018, when they secured their 28th title by defeating Kilkenny. Galway and Killkenny have dominated the competition for the past 3 years and look to continue their form into 2021.
The 2020 Liberty Insurance Camogie All-Stars Team in full is:
Goalkeeper: Áine Slattery (Tipperary), Right corner-back: Shauna Healy (Galway), Full-back: Claire Phelan (Kilkenny), Left corner-back: Mary Ryan (Tipperary);
Right half-back: Hannah Looney (Cork), Centre half-back: Karen Kennedy (Tipperary), Left half-back: Davina Tobin (Kilkenny), Midfield: Chloe Sigerson (Cork), Midfield: Grace Walsh (Kilkenny);
Right half-forward: Niamh Rockett (Waterford), Centre half-forward: Orla Cronin (Cork), Left half-forward: Denise Gaule (Kilkenny), Right corner-forward: Orlaith McGrath (Galway), Full-forward: Miriam Walsh (Kilkenny), Left corner-forward: Anne Dalton (Kilkenny)
The news comes as the GAA this week announced that 100 female intercounty players were to benefit from scholarship funding in 2021. In a press release on Monday last, the GAA revealed that to mark International Women’s Day, the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) “is delighted to announce that 100 female inter-county players have been awarded scholarship funding as they continue their third-level studies.” They further added that the number of scholarships being distributed is up 45 on the number of players who benefitted from these scholarships last year, which represents an 82% increase in the number of recipients. 31 of the 32 counties are represented on the list of recipients. The scholarship announcement comes amidst calls by many high-profile players to accelerate the changes needed to bring both camogie and ladies gaelic football to a larger platform, by merging the GAA, the LGFA and Camogie Association together into one organisation. The merger was originally proposed by former GAA President Liam O’Neill in 2015, but it fell by the wayside by the time his tenure in office expired.
The 2021 camogie intercounty season is pencilled in to resume after Easter, when intercounty training will be permitted under current public health guidelines. However, there is still little clarity over what shape the Littlewoods Ireland Camogie Leagues will take this year, and as to whether the LGFA and Camogie Associations will follow the GAA move to implement a split-season for intercounty and club activities.
A large cohort of UCC graduates were also represented at the PwC Men’s Hurling All-Stars ceremony last month. Despite there not being any Cork representative on the fifteen, there were three former UCC players included in the honours list. Dan Morrissey of Limerick, Tadhg de Búrca of Waterford, and Jamie Barren of Waterford were all given the nod, all three have represented the college at Fitzgibbon level.
The 2020 PwC Hurling All-Stars Team in full is:
Goalkeeper: Nickie Quaid (Limerick); Right corner-back: Sean Finn (Limerick), Full-back: Dan Morrissey (Limerick), Left corner-back: Daithí Burke (Galway);
Right half-back: Diarmaid Byrnes (Limerick), Centre back:Tadhg de Búrca (Waterford), Left half-back:Kyle Hayes (Limerick), Midfield: Jamie Barron (Waterford), Midfield: Tony Kelly (Clare);
Right half-back: Gearoid Hegarty (Limerick), Centre forward: Cian Lynch (Limerick), Left half-back:Tom Morrissey (Limerick); Right corner-forward:Aaron Gillane (Limerick), Full-forward: TJ Reid (Kilkenny), Left corner-back:Stephen Bennett (Waterford).