Back in 2015, the GAA was erroneously slated for a number of key issues: a camogie qualifier place between Dublin and Clare was to be decided by a coin toss; fixture clashes for players from Clare and Cork; a referee mistakenly played a 35-minute half.
Critics leapt forward to denounce the obvious injustice, a similar fate would not befall their male counterparts, the unwillingness to originally accept appeals from both sides.
These critics failed to recognise the fact since its creation in 1905 the Camogie Association has existed as a separate body to the GAA, with its own constitution, rules and uniform. Since then, it operated independently. A Women’s GPA also exists having launched in 2015.
Double All-Star winner and Wexford star Mags D’Arcy feels more co-operation between the associations should be a priority, with the potential for amalgamation at some point in the future.
If you look at division 1A and division 1B of the men’s game in hurling and camogie, the same teams are there in hurling and senior, so it boggles the mind a little bit why we can’t collaborate together and showcase the two.
Believe it or not there is a lot of cousins, sisters or brothers that are playing on the same day and families are torn apart, it’s a first world problem but at the same time you would love to be able to support your son or your daughter, your cousin equally in one area, on one day. It would be great.
D’Arcy admitted to being “envious” at the 46,286-record crowd that turned out to watch the Ladies football final this year, while also citing it as a “benchmark.”
She proposes a format whereby camogie games could precede hurling games, particularly given both codes will implement a round-robin format.
I think to take it all a step further if we were to amalgamate a scheme with the GAA, I think now the GAA are entering a pool stages a Champions League effect and we already have that so why can’t we mirror the match-ups and then we could play prior to the men’s game and that would bring a bigger following and a bigger platform for people to come and look at us.
It’s not about people coming to look at us, they can choose to do that or not but at least we’re being exposed to a bigger audience and they can see the benefits and people can see the benefits of their daughter playing and say my daughter is being treated on the same platform as the men, that’s pretty cool.
On the topic of bringing both sports under one umbrella, D’arcy feels a gradual program towards that end could serve both codes as opposed to immediate change.
If you go towards amalgamation you’re nearly afraid, of what the IRFU have done in a sense, where those way things have gone at the moment. I don’t think we have that moral framework, the moral framework in the GAA is about the family and about an equal platform in both so I would take practical approach and look at fixtures where we can start that process and if we were to amalgamate further done the line, I’d very much be in favour of that.
D'Arcy is not the first to float such a proposal. There had been rumours of potential integration in 2014, with then chief executive Joan O’Flynn confirming informal talks had occurred. Last year Clare Camogie Chairperson Joe Robbins also outlined a vision for a potential merger at the associations AGM.
For D'Arcy, her own county of Wexford is setting an example.
There’s a big support base in Wexford people from the men’s game would come over to the women’s game and support equally so we’re lucky hurling is a huge tradition in Wexford both male and female.
Mags D’arcy was speaking at an AIB event to mark their 26th season of sponsoring the GAA Club Championship. For exclusive content and behind the scenes action from the AIB Camogie and Club Championships follow AIB GAA on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and facebook.com/AIBGAA.