The chairman of the Johnstownbridge Camogie Club has hit out at the Kildare Camogie board for their refusal to change the club's county-final meeting to a different date.
The club appealed to the board on Tuesday night to have the fixture changed as a large number of their players will be involved with Balyna in the Kildare Senior Football Championship final on Saturday evening at 6pm, with the Johnstownbridge camogs due to line out for a county semi-final against Clane on Sunday at 2pm.
That means there will be just a 20-hour turnaround from the planned start of both games, leading to concerns about player welfare. As many as 12 players will be involved in both games.
The club launched an appeal when the fixtures were confirmed on Sunday night, and the club issued to proposals to the camogie county board. The first proposal was to change the fixture to the following weekend, and put the county final back until September 31. This would still leave two weeks between the county final and the first round of the Leinster Championship that the winners would participate in.
The second proposal was to play the semi-final on Tuesday September 19, allowing the players a three-day recovery period between their football game and the camogie semi-final. The winners between Johnstownbridge and Clane would then have five days to prepare for the county final.
"We put two suggestions to the county board," club chairman Nigel Langan told KildareNow.
"There was absolutely no objections to those two suggestions from any other club member, and Clane, who we are playing, there was a representative from Clane last night - I don't know who he was - and he never voiced his concern. We asked to put it to a vote and we were told it's not up for a vote.
"They said that the Leinster Council wants to know the Kildare county final has to played on September 21."
At the meeting of the county board, two of Kildare's most high profile dual-stars gave impassioned pleas to the committee. Kildare camogie captain Siobhán Hurley and former All-Ireland winning Lilywhite captain Aisling Holton spoke on behalf of their teammates.
"Siobhan Hurley explained to them how many training sessions they done this year, how many nights they played football and how many nights they played camogie," said Langan.
"They didn't want to listen to it. Aisling Holton spoke about player welfare and professor Niall Moyna's tests that have been done on players; they don't want to know about it.
"I put the question to them; 'Do you not care about players?' They would not answer.
"All we're asking for is fair play, and Jesus like... you expect girls to go out and play for an hour and a half on a Saturday evening and then go out and play a county semi-final on Sunday at two o'clock. It's just not feasible. Don't get me wrong, but you wouldn't get a horse to run two days in a row, would you?"
Reigning two-time All-Ireland Junior Camogie champions Johnstownbridge are bidding for another Kildare county title, and Langan feels that their progress is being severely stalled by the board's refusal to facilitate a fixture change.
"I think in this day and age it's disgraceful that player welfare is not being brought into consideration, plus the fact of the mindset of the girls," he said.
"Just say on Saturday night, they go into Newbridge and beat Confey in the county final and they get home at nine o'clock and go in for a meal or whatever. You've to drag yourself out of bed the next day to go and play a semi-final in camogie; it's not physically possible.
"These girls have trained all year for this day. We are after winning every game in the camogie championship to date and this is the first game that is a knockout. We're not getting a fair chance at it and we are reigning champions."
KildareNow contacted the Kildare Camogie Board earlier today but has not received a response at the time of publication.
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