By Michael McMullan
FORMER Derry camogie star Katie McAnenly feels the integration of all three codes of the Gaelic games’ family is “long overdue”.
A native of Cargin, McAnenly (nee McAuley), played camogie with Castledawson and Derry before recently joining Cargin when they added camogie to their club.
Now living in Ballygawley, her children play football for Errigal Ciaran and the nearby Cúchulainn An Ghleanna, a club offering hurling and camogie in the Clogher Valley.
Speaking as a guest on the latest edition of the Gaelic Lives podcast, McAnenly pointed out how both Castledawson and Cargin embraced the camogie teams in the clubs.
“We never had any problem getting pitches or support from the men,” McAnenly stressed. “In Castledawson, there was a lot of support from the men and Cargin is the same.”
Training facilities were either shared or the men’s team would use an adjacent grassy area for their warm-up before the camogs would finish their session on the pitch.
“We are very lucky in that our club are following the ‘One Club’ model already,” she said of Cargin and how they plan to fully integrate. Things like fundraisers currently all come under the one umbrella.
“I know there are clubs and counties out there that don’t pull together.
“I do think it is a pity…there is so much and women and men can do together.”
She uses the example of girls from the Cargin camogie team balancing their time with Moneyglass football team. A merger would help with potential clashes of games.
“It can only benefit the GAA as a whole when it does come together,” McAnenly added.
“It’s not all about us, the older generation. It is about the younger generation coming through and you want to give them the best opportunities.
“You can see what sport does, not just GAA, but you see what sport in general does for children, bringing them out of themselves and letting them socialise and watching their confidence grow.”
• Check out an insightful and wide-ranging interview with Katie on the latest edition of the Gaelic Lives podcast. Check out the Gaelic Life social media channels for more information.