Archive for the ‘Camogie’ Category

My wife back in Durham sent me an email recently. She said they were getting used to me not being around and wouldn’t care that much if I decided to stay another year in Ireland. After a couple of days in mourning, I got a grip of myself and planned out the weekend. I had a few options. There was a dinosaur show in Belfast but I’ve always had a fear of dinosaurs. I’ve a bad feeling scientists are trying to recreate them to wipe out half the planet  to keep the carbon dioxide emissions down, backed by the big governments. There was a car-boot sale in Carlingford, a cattle market in Crossmaglen and an oyster eating competition in Moira. But one event jumped right off the page. Another trip to Dublin to see a game called camogie.

They’ll be back

I did a bit of research and it appears that camogie was invented when a gang of priests watched a group of women beating cattle down a road with a piece of blue piping. They did so with great skill so the clergy threw them a small ball and that was that. I still wasn’t expecting much as I journeyed down the now familiar road to Croke Park. The woman at the toll bridge continues to amuse me. Two weeks ago I gave her 2 euros, expecting 20 cents changed. She just told me to hurry along. Last week I tried to push it a bit and gave her €5, requiring €3.20 back. Again she told me to get a move on. This week I thought I’d attempt to make a small profit so I threw her a mountain of coins which only totalled €1.40, 40 cents short. She was able to look at the bundle for 2 seconds and telepathically count it, before hurling the pile back in my face, and I mean in my face, and threatened to call the guards if I didn’t cough up €1.80. Amazing woman.

Toll bridge woman takes no prisoners

It was only €30 into the stadium and I was treated to three wonderful games: a junior, an intermediate and a senior game. I fell in love with 90 players within the space of four hours. I’m not being flippant here but more about that later. These women displayed more courage, skill and determination than I’d witnessed in all my trips to Croke Park over these last few weeks. I thought Donegal’s Neil Gallagher put in a towering performance against Cork. I can state with confidence that Ursula Jacob would eat and drink Gallagher for breakfast and then come back for McHugh. It immediately struck me how those young girls feel when they attend a Westlife or Take That concert. I was swooning in the crowd at every clash of the ash, as hair and skirts majestically merged in a mix of marvellous magical mastery. At one stage I started screaming but caught myself on when the children below just stared back.

Your average camogie player

Wexford won the main game. It was an experience to mix with a new set of fans. They call themselves the Strawberry Pickers because the climate in Wexford is a lot warmer than the rest of Ireland (one fan said they average 30 degrees in the Autumn even) and you could tell as the women all had brown faces. Strawberries line the roads they said so much so that their clothes and shoes are covered in the stuff no matter where they walk. To be fair, there was a strong smell of fruit or vegetables off them . I’d imagine there’d be a lot of wasps too.

But back to the point earlier. Coinciding with the email I received from the woman who I call my wife, I have decided to hunt down and court a camogie player. I got the names of all camogie players in Antrim and will begin a campaign to woo at least one and take it from there. Exciting times lie ahead and I envisage no problems. I just hope I achieve the courtship before word gets out about these women and people from all over the world like Africa, New Zealand or Russia all descend on Ireland to get them too.

Next weekend sees the World Cup Final of GAA. I will be attending both final training sessions this week and will report then. I hope I don’t dream about dinosaurs.

Wexford road