An audience is gathering. People are pointing. Fifteen women belting each other with sticks. It merits a few stares. As they run by in their pairs, the Irish shout;“Keep the hurling alive ladies”, while the Canadians inquire politely into the name of this strange sport. Camogie is back in Canada and Toronto is one of the first to jump on the bandwagon.
The last time ladies trotted around High Park caman in hand was back in the 70’s. Anne Loughnane former centre forward recalls; “There were two teams in Toronto back then. We mostly played each other and travelled to tournaments in the States. We got to play New York at the CNE and several feis in Hamilton. It is great to see it making a comeback.” However, it is early days and this year will focus predominantly on getting a team established, recruiting players, naming the club, securing sponsorship and purchasing helmets.
“Our plans for this year include competing in the International Camogie Tournament in New York on October first and there is a possibility of amalgamating with Atlanta Georgia for the North American finals to ensure sufficient numbers. “says Leanne Fitzgerald, the person credited with the idea to start up a club. Fitzgerald was brought on in the men’s hurling game at the seven aside GAA tournament in Cleveland in May and it was there that the idea was first planted.
The response so far has been overwhelming. PK O’Kane Hurls, a Derry based company shipped over a batch of thirteen hurls and twelve sliothars within two days of placing the order. The men’s side, Toronto Hurling club have being incredibly supportive. The turnout of players is solid with newcomers showing up every week. At the moment it is mostly Irish girls with the exception of five Canadians but that will change as the sport begins to take root.
Training takes place at 7.30pm Tuesday evenings at High Park. For more information regarding membership or sponsorship, contact Leanne at email@example.com . Here’s hoping that camogie in Canada will return and surmount its former precedence.