2020 Baker Tilly All-Ireland ‘Long-Distance’ Camogie 7s from Kilmacud Crokes.
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, a decision was taken in early summer 2020, that it would not be possible to hold our regular camogie 7s event in Stillorgan. Rather than cancel the event entirely and break our 47 year unbroken run of Kilmacud Crokes Camogie 7s, we decided to take the event online by holding a global skills competition with clubs invited from all over the world. Modelled loosely on the Féile Skills challenge but for adult players with the skills suitably increased in difficulty, there were three competition grades offered, Cup, Shield and Plate. In keeping with social distancing guidelines, clubs were able to take part from their own club grounds, connected through the power of social media with their competitors around Ireland and the rest of the world. To maintain the connection with the traditional 7s format, teams consisted of 10 named players, with the top 7 scores counted in an aggregate score for each of the 6 skills in the competition. The event was scheduled for Saturday September 19th, and was officially launched in early July through a combination of a dedicated event website, an email blast to club secretaries at club and regional level, and a variety of other social media. Our lead sponsors Baker Tilly once again brought their considerable marketing prowess to bear by helping us to produce promotional videos to showcase each of the requisite skills. It took a little while for word to spread but eventually over 30 teams registered across all three grades. During August and September we enjoyed seeing teams from the US, Canada, Australia and Ireland, posting videos to social media of their players practising the skills in preparation for the event, in what had become the first ever truly global camogie competition. Fortunately, the late summer months saw a huge amount of on-the-pitch camogie being played in Ireland as we enjoyed the dip between the first and second wave of the pandemic but as an unfortunate consequence, during the week of the event itself we had a very large number of Irish-based teams drop out of the competition as they were still competing locally. Ultimately we ended up with four teams in the Shield competition, seven in the Plate competition, and none for the Cup other than our own senior team. Nonetheless, the event went ahead with welcoming video messages on the morning of the event from Uachtarán Kathleen Woods from the Camogie Association, Alma O’Brien from Baker Tilly, and John Fenton from Kilmacud Crokes Camogie. Scores had already been submitted the previous day and night from teams outside Ireland and during the day these were joined by scores from the Irish-based clubs. By 5pm, the team winners and individual best scorers were clear and a video conference call was set up with all the available winners (both from Ireland and America) and the organising team for a virtual-awards ceremony. As one of the winners was based in Australia where it was already the middle of the night, this was followed up the next morning with a second video conference with that team.
The feedback on the event was hugely positive. The foreign-based teams in particular were really appreciative of being able to take part in a competition with clubs from the home country of the sport that they love so much. Many of those playing in such clubs have never been to Ireland! It was unfortunate that so few of the Irish-entered clubs took part on the day but this didn’t affect the overall sense of a job well done in creating a special event for all those who took part. While we hope for a return to more normal times in 2021 and the ability to run our normal 7s event, we will certainly consider running the Global Camogie 7s Skills Challenge event again also.
2020 ROLL OF HONOUR
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