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The Camogie Association 


Camogie is played by 100,000 women in Ireland and worldwide, largely among Irish communities.

The name was invented by Tadhg Ua Donnchadha (Tórna) at meetings in 1903 in advance of the first matches in 1904. It is derived from stick used in the game. Men play hurling using a curved stick called a camán in Irish. Women in the early camogie games used a shorter stick described by the diminutive form camóg. The suffix -aíocht (originally "uidheacht") was added to both words to give names for the sports: camánaíocht (which became iománaíocht) and camógaíocht. When the Gaelic Athletic Association was founded in 1884 the English-origin name "hurling" was given to the men's game. When an organisation for women was set up in 1904, it was decided to anglicise the Irish name camógaíocht to camogie.

The experimental rules were drawn up for the female game by Máire Ní Chinnéide, Seán (Sceilg) Ó Ceallaigh, Tadhg Ó Donnchadha and Séamus Ó Braonáin. The Official Launch of Camogie took place with the first public match between Craobh an Chéitinnigh (Keatings branch of the Gaelic League) and Cúchulainns on 17 July at a Feis in Navan. The sport's governing body, the Camogie Association or An Cumann Camógaíochta was founded in 1905 and re-constituted in 1911, 1923 and 1939. Until June 2010 it was known as Cumann Camógaíochta na nGael.

Máire Ní Chinnéide and Cáit Ní Dhonnchadha, two prominent Irish-language enthusiasts and cultural nationalists, were credited with having created the sport, with the assistance of Ní Dhonnchadha's scholarly brother Tadhg Ó Donnchadha, who drew up its rules. Thus, although camogie was founded by women, and independently run (although closely linked to the GAA), there was, from the outset, a small yet powerful male presence within its administrative ranks. It was no surprise that camogie emanated from the Gaelic League, nor that it would be dependent upon the structures and networks provided by that organisation during the initial expansion of the sport. Of all the cultural nationalist organisations for adults that emerged during the fin de siècle, the Gaelic League was the only one to accept female and male members on an equal footing.



Leagues

An Cumann Camógaíochta has a similar structure to the Gaelic Athletic Association, with an Annual Congress every spring which decides on policy and major issues such as rule changes, and an executive council, the Árd Chómhairle which deals with short-term issues and governance. The game is administered from a headquarters in Croke Park in Dublin. Each of 28 county boards takes control of its own affairs (all of the Irish counties except Fermanagh, Leitrim and Sligo), with the number of clubs ranging from 58 in Cork to one in Leitrim. There are four provincial councils and affiliates in Asia, Australia, Britain, Europe, New York, New Zealand and North America.

Clubs

There are 537 camogie clubs, of which 513 (95.5%) are based on the island of Ireland, 47 in Connacht (8.8%), 195 in Leinster (36.4%), 160 in Munster (29.8%), and 110 in Ulster (20.5%).