On Sunday 17 July 1904 at the Showgrounds at An Umaimh, twenty-four shy young women, all pioneers (non drinkers of alcohol) in skirts that trailed the ground, lined up in two teams of twelve for the first Camogie Game ever played. It was a slow, very slow game of camogie because of those skirts and because the girls had little practice with the camans (the sticks they used to hit the ball). In fact the rules were made as the game went along because not all the rules for men’s hurling were suitable for Camogie.
The teams were from Dublin; Keatings and Cuchullains. That day was born an Irish game for Irishwomen. It was a modified form of hurling suitable for women. The name in Irish “camoguidheacht” derives from camog, the irish for a turned stick.
Not all agreed with the game, tongues whispered: “Imagine women playing a rough game like that.”
This is a true story My Maternal Grandmother was one of those women.
The picture shows the members of the Keating team. My Grandmother is sitting first left in the front row. I think the photo was taken after the match as Granny seems to have a bloody nose! Tut! Tut! Whatever will young ladies think of next?
Is it any wonder then that my Elly went on to play Rugby? On one occasion she played on an all male team against an all male team! That is her story and she might share it with you some day!