At 08.15 am on Friday morning the gates to the grounds were unlocked and the usual faces began appearing as the final preparations were made for our annual summer camp. Dressing room floors were swept, flags hoisted and registration tables set out in anticipation of the expected crowds. Shortly after 9.15 our coaches began arriving. We were delighted to welcome guest coaches, Cork senior Camogie players, Hannah Looney and Laura Treacy, fresh from their victory over Wexford in the All Ireland Camogie Semi Final on the previous Saturday and Cork minor player Edel Lonergan. Also we had the hugely experienced Mick Fahalee, Kiltha Óg coaching officer and Martin Mc Sweeney, Midleton GAA coaching officer, helping out. Of course our own excellent coaches, David Burke, Dermot O'Halloran, Norma Lewis and Liam McCarthy were on hand along with Eoin McCarthy who we were delighted to have back with us again. We had an abundance of helpers from the ranks of our older camogie players along with Eoin Cashman and Mike Kelly without all of whom we couldn't have ran such a successful camp. Each coach was given their task and assigned their assistants for the day by camp coordinator Helena Napier and sent on their way to prepare their sessions, games and drills. Dermot, Liam and Edel were given charge of the u5 and 6s. Eoin and Hannah got the u7 and 8s. The u9, 10, 11, 12, and 13s were divided into three groups and rotated between Mike & David, Martin & Norma and Laura throughout the day. At 10.00 am Audry, Muriel and Mary took up their positions behind the registration tables and greeted the girls and their parents as they flooded in to begin their camp. By 10.20 we had over 65 girls signed in and handed over to their coaches and by 10.30 we were under way. The theme of the camp was participation, fun and learning. Age appropriate skill based drills were interspersed with fun games and activities with plenty of time given over to answering questions and explaining the principles of Camogie. During the morning session we we treated to a visit from Cork Senior Camogie player Orla Cotter and Cork Intermediate camogie player Niamh Ní Caoimhe who gladly stood in for photos with all the age groups and chatted with girls and adults alike and joined us for a cup of coffee during the well deserved lunch break. A selection of fruits, coffee, tea and cordial was kindly donated to us by our local Centra while lunch for the coaches was generously supplied by The Village Greengrocer.
With everyone fully refreshed and rested we again took to the field for our afternoon sessions. Dark clouds began to gather and it wasn't long before the the rain started to fall. While the older groups braved the elements the younger girls headed for the new dressing rooms. Dermot, Liam and Eoin led the girls in a few indoor ball games while the assistant coaches, led by Ellen Harty gave us a beautiful rendition of the Gummy Bear song. It wasn't long before the rain abated and we were back on the field again to complete our first day of camp. We waved good bye to Laura and Hannah and thanked them both for their help and wished Hannah well for her All Ireland football quarter final match against Cavan the following day. On Saturday we again began the morning with a quick tidy up and re jigged the coaches with Art Coughlan joining us for our second day. Enthusiasm amongst the girls remained high and we welcomed over 75 girls for our second day. Again the girls were handed over to their respective coaching teams and took up station in their allotted area. Sessions began at 10.15 am and immediately the girls were being put through their paces with well thought out warm up drills and games. With the rotation of coaches over both days the girls got the full benefit of their experience and expertise. We stopped for a well deserved break mid morning where our helpers visited the groups on the pitch and handed out orange and apple wedges to the delight of the girls. The sessions continued till lunch combining more fun games with intensive and innovative skill based drills. As always the ever present and reliable backroom team of Muriel, Pamela and Helena had tea and coffee laid on for the coaching staff with scones and fruit and beautifully baked buns, baked by our own u10 Haley O'Halloran, especially for the coaches. The weather was holding as we returned to the field for the final session of the camp. You would think that the girls would have had enough at this stage but they ran to their stations with the same enthusiasm they showed when they first arrived on Friday morning. As the sessions began draw to a close parents began to arrive to collect their girls. Each girl that took part the camp received a specially commissioned training top, kindly sponsored by our club sponsor Castle Pharmacy, water bottle and wristband. To finish off we held a cross bar challenge for girls, coaches, assistants and any parent that was willing to try. We had two successful girls, Muireann Coughlan and Juliet Cahill and one parent, Pamela O'Halloran, who rattled the bar with her second attempt. As parents and girls drifted reluctantly from the pitch and made their way from the grounds the coaching teams gathered for a final well deserved cuppa and recap on a very successful camp. One of the benefits of having guest coaches during such a camp is getting their feedback after the camp has finished. They had nothing but praise for the girls, for their behaviour, their commitment and their willingness to learn. They rated their core skill level very highly and considering the club is only four years old were very impressed with the numbers we have taking to the field. Everybody involved with the club, whether it be a player, parent, sibling or coach should be very proud of how far we've come in such a short space of time.