After picking up her first All-Star last week, Cork’s Amy O’Connor joined OTB AM on Wednesday morning and urged parents to invest in their children by taking them to camogie matches.
“At a Cork senior men’s game in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, there are hundreds of girls there, I’d challenge dads to bring them to camogie matches," said O'Connor.
The half-forward from St. Vincent’s GAA club in Knocknaheeny on the north side of Cork, has called on parents to help increase the attendances at games with the hope that one day the All-Ireland final will sell-out Croke Park.
“I’d love to say that one day, hopefully in my career, that we will sell out Croke Park on All-Ireland final day,” said O'Connor.
While the challenge at the elite level of camogie is about attendances, O’Connor referenced the difficulties that her own club faces in keeping players involved in Gaelic games and away from unhealthy distractions in life.
“There’s a huge stigma in our area because of alcohol and drugs and our club does so much to try to keep (young) people involved with something.”
Without doubt, her success on the inter-county scene will go a long way in helping to retain players and promote camogie in her home town of Knocknaheeny.
“It drives me insane when I think of the girls we’ve lost - I hope they look at the club and see what’s being built and hopefully are drawn back,” said O'Connor.
The Cork attacker is an idol within her club with hundreds of people turning out to welcome her home after she won her recent All-Star.
“There were hundreds of people, there were a DJ and a guard of honour, it was unbelievable what they did for me and it just showed what it meant to the club.”
No three in a row for Cork
Following a disappointing exit from this year’s camogie championship - a one-point defeat to Galway at the semi-final stage - O’Connor still struggles to pinpoint what went wrong for the Rebels.
“It’s a difficult one to take, to be honest; we were awful on the day.”
An off-day can happen to any team and the All-Star forward remains positive for 2020 believing the fact that they are no longer the team to beat can work in their favour.
“We’re not the team to beat anymore, it’s Kilkenny or Galway. There’s not a target on our back anymore,” O'Connor.
Despite the absence of Cork from this year’s final, O’Connor acknowledged that the game was a great watch.
And O’Connor, like many other players, would like to see camogie become a more free-flowing sport and this would, in turn, generate better crowds at matches.
“We just want to take the sport to the next level - I’m a firm believer that camogie could take off and really blow up.”
Written by Sam Victory