You train hard, advance through the various rounds of the championship and earn promotion to the top tier by virtue of reaching the final of that division.
That was the story of DCU’s camogie side last season and so taking the above into account, preparations should be ongoing for DCU’s maiden voyage in the Ashbourne Cup. Not quite.
A decision taken two weeks ago by the Camogie Association denotes that DCU, once again, will ply their trade in the Purcell Cup for the forthcoming year.
Camogie’s marquee competition at third level had always consisted of eight teams, but the decision taken see’s the number of Colleges taking part reduced to six, and consequently, DCU did not make the cut.
Naturally enough, the players and management alike were extremely disappointed with the ruling. Indeed, it became blatantly obvious, from speaking with members of the panel, that the refusal to award DCU a qualifying match for the Ashbourne Cup was not well received.
“We are just all very disappointed that we weren’t given the opportunity of a least a play-off match to get into the Ashbourne Cup, as we feel we are good enough to be playing at a higher level” said wing back Stacey Quirke.
Sharing this sentiment was club Treasurer and centre back Emma Brennan, “it would have been nice to be given an opportunity to play in Ashbourne. None of us were very happy with how our request was handled by the camogie association.”
But the decision hasn’t deterred focus within the squad and the players are succinctly determined to go one better this time around.
“Our reaction was disappointment and still is, but as a team we are committed to working harder than ever this year to win Purcell and contend the division 1 league so we can put DCU Camogie on the map,” said club Chairperson and goalkeeper Aisleen Sheehan.
“We learnt two weeks ago that we wouldn’t be promoted which was disappointing, but has only spurred us on and made us more motivated to win this year to prove we are good enough for Ashbourne.
“Queens of Belfast beat us in the final last year by four points and it was heartbreaking, but this year looks so promising with some unreal freshers coming on-board and the fact that we have only lost two players from our squad last year” continued Sheehan.
Thanks to the Chairperson’s boardroom perseverance DCU were granted Division 1 status for the league and certainly proved their worth in securing a 0-19 to 1-10 win over Ashbourne side CIT. The result is all the more impressive when you factor in that DCU had to travel south for the clash.
“The fact that we get to play in the division 1 league, means that we get a chance to show that we are up to playing at that level, and I think we proved that when we beat C.I.T, an Ashbourne team, by six points” added Quirke.
Away from the pitch, Sheehan was keen to acknowledge the recognition and assistance the club have received from DCU. “The camogie club this year has received so much recognition and unbelievable support from DCU. We have been given equal opportunities on all fronts and have Michael Kennedy and those who work alongside him to thank for this.”
Winning the Purcell Cup on the third weekend of February remains the clubs sole objective, but as Brennan remarks “there’s a long way to go still” and so, training continues every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday under the watchful eye of Niall Williams, Andy Dermody and Caroline Connolly. This is the first year DCU have a second camogie team so for anyone wishing to join the panel check out their facebook page – DCU camogie club.
In any event, you get the feeling it won’t be long before this dedicated bunch are dining at Camogie’s top table.