Northern Ireland

Camogie Association: Documentary looks at the sport’s history and preparations for integration with GAA

The BBC NI programme, Camán na mBan, was filmed across the 2023 All-Ireland Club Championship season

Órlaith McCusker is featured in the documentary
Camogie player Órlaith McCusker, pictured after a match at QUB, is featured in the documentary

A new documentary to mark the 120th anniversary of the Camogie Association looks at the history of the sport and its preparations for the most fundamental change in its existence.

Ahead of its integration with the GAA by 2027, the programme Camán na mBan provides a look back on the past as well as what lies ahead for the future of the sport.

Archive footage and interviews reveal how early founders carved out a space for women within the sporting and cultural revolution at the turn of the twentieth century.

Shut out from playing within the GAA, early advocates of camogie adopted their own rules and created a sport for women, staunchly guarding their autonomy.

Thirty years later when the question of men’s involvement in camogie arose, this fierce independence caused disagreements that almost tore the Association apart.

Filmed across the 2023 All-Ireland Club Championship season, the documentary is narrated by Camogie All-Star Aoife Ní Chaiside, who has won the All-Ireland Club Championship three times with Slaughtneil.

Camogie teams featured include Loughgiel Shamrocks, Queen’s University Belfast and St Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt.

The documentary also includes interviews with All-Star camogie players past and present, two former presidents of the Camogie Association, Gaelic Games’ academics and former intercounty referee Úna Kearney from Ballymacnab.

Former Camogie president Hilda Breslin at Croke Park
Former Camogie president Hilda Breslin at Croke Park

The documentary considers the benefits of the ‘One Club Model’, which encourages clubs to integrate their football, hurling, camogie and ladies’ football under one roof.

A look at the issues many clubs and players face today around player rights and the foundation of the Gaelic Players’ Association is also examined in the programme.

It also looks at the challenges that sometimes exist between the needs of grassroots members and decisions made at the top level of the organisation.

Camán na mBan airs on Sunday on BBC iPlayer and BBC Two NI at 10pm.