In April, the annual Camogie Congress in Clane, Co. Kildare dealt with two motions pertaining to playing kit.

One proposal, brought by the London County Board, sought to add shorts to the list of permitted garments along with skirts, divided skirts or skorts. It was defeated by 55% to 45% and a suggestion by Tipperary that shorts replace skorts outright lost on a 64-36 margin.

The London motion had been driven by Thomas McCurtains, with the club undertaking a survey that showed 82% of players would like to have the option to wear shorts. However, such views were not shared by the delegates casting the votes and, as things stand, the matter cannot come up for discussion again until 2027.

Different views

Former Cork and Dublin camogie player Sarah O’Donovan currently has two coaching roles on her native Leeside. The Ballygarvan senior side has an age-range from the teens up to the late 30s while she is also involved with Ballinhassig from U14-U16s levels.

Dealing with such a vast cohort means that she is aware of the spectrum of views on the shorts/skorts matter – and there are no clear lines of demarcation.

“There were younger girls quite happy to retain the skort,” she says, “and then you’ve players, playing in the same line of the pitch as some of those who prefer it, and they find it completely impractical. It’s absolutely down to individual preference.

“You have players who play football, who train in shorts six nights a week, and this skort is something in the end of their bags that they’re forced to wear on the other night, when they have a camogie match.

“It’s mad to think that you have to play for 60 minutes in something that you don’t train in.”

Former Cork and Dublin camogie player, Sarah O’Donovan in action for Dublin against Tipperary. \Dáire Brennan/Sportsfile

However, whatever the views of the players, they were not invited to air them prior to the votes taking place.

“WhatsApp is a very powerful thing when there’s a bingo night or you want to have a table-quiz,” O’Donovan says.

“The club has to know about things like that but there were no messages sent, in either club, to ask the players if they had views on this.

“We have a vote on everything. We’re constantly getting feedback on whether players will be available for matches or training sessions – the thumbs up or thumbs down is a routine thing for everyone to be contributing to.

“I didn’t see why players couldn’t have been canvassed, in the same way that is done for other things.

“I’ve 70 players under my remit at the moment and none of them were polled or canvassed and they would have no issue saying that.

“I think there are over 100,000 girls playing in the country and there’s no way that it could have been reflective of the larger playing group.

“It’s the same with all of the rule-changes that have come in. Beyond an explanation afterwards that the change has been made, there was no canvass.”


One of the arguments put forward at Congress against teams comprising some players in skorts and others in shorts was that it would affect uniformity. O’Donovan doesn’t feel that view carries much weight.

“Some players own the same skort for their whole careers,” she says, “it could start out navy and end up grey.

“The U16 comes in then and she has a brand-new, shiny skort whereas the veteran corner-back has had hers since the 1990s.

“You can’t say that, just because every player has a skort, they’ll all look the same – there’ll be a variety of colours, lengths and styles. There is no club in the country that has every player wearing the same colour skort.

“An option of a club skort and club shorts would be uniform enough.”

Somewhat ironically, she feels that the growing demand for the increase in options is due to another sport.

“When I was with Cork back in the early 2000s, camogie was certainly more popular and ladies’ football was only getting up and running,” she says.

“Football didn’t have the same commercial backing or volume of players, but its growth has definitely provided a push. You’ve so many people playing, especially with the Mothers & Others too, it has driven this idea home that the shorts are a more comfortable item to train and play in.”

As is often the way with coverage of camogie and ladies’ football, the negative stories get more airtime. The skorts/shorts vote meant that a historic development – the election of Brian Molloy as the Camogie Association’s first male president – was somewhat over-shadowed.

However, O’Donovan feels that the new man will be central to what she sees as the inevitable relaxation of the current stance.

“Thomas McCurtains and the Tipperary County Board did a great job, especially in the week leading up to Congress,” she says. “It made people more aware of the issue.

“I think that Brian Molloy is very fresh to the challenges of the organisation and this challenge is probably something that he will seek more discussion on than was previously the case.

“I think there’ll be a bigger push to get the views of the players, because there wasn’t a push this time around. It’ll be a much more democratic approach.”

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