In the last ten years, the All-Ireland Camogie Final has been played by two teams- Tipperary and Cork. So you might think that moving to Cork would make it easy to find a camogie team. Surely, with the sort of talent they put on the pitch, the game must be played all over the county. Little girls must have a hurley put in their hands as soon as they're able to walk.
I've quickly learned that in certain parts of the county, that's a correct assumption. West Cork, different in many ways, is no exception in the sports department. West Cork is football country. And since I'm in the Middle of Nowhere, finding a camogie team is an extra challenge.
I started looking for a team a few weeks ago. Although there may be teams that are geographically closer, roads must always be the chief consideration when judging distances. The north-south roads in my part of the county are little more than tractor trails. The main Cork-Macroom road is the best way to get anywhere, which means my commute to any camogie would be a minimum of 30 minutes. Realistically, I'm looking at a minimum of an hour.
The closest club only has a Senior team. I play Junior B. To use a baseball analogy – I'm Class A and these guys are Major League. Even though the woman I talked to assured me I'd fit in with their team and they were looking for players, I'm reluctant to sign up with them.
You see, even though I've moved more than 200 miles away from my team, I have to go through a transfer process. There's a little form that I have to fill out, which I have to get signed my old club's secretary, the secretary of the Dublin County Board, the secretary of the Leinster Provincial Board, and someone in the national organization. On this form, I have to name which club I'm transferring to. My understanding is, after this magic piece of paper winds it way through the process and is accepted, my club die is cast. If I decide after all this that the selected club is not for me, I'd have to wait two years.
I understand the spirit of the rules – you don't want people jumping from club to club randomly. You don't want one super-great club to be able to entice all the best players to come play for them. But it's not like I have the option anymore of playing for my old club.
So, I've got to pick a team and it seems that I have three choices within a reasonable (read less than 75 minutes drive) distance. I'm afraid Closest Team (about 50 minutes away) is out of my league. I don't know anything about Next Closest Team (about 10 minutes further), although I am working on finding out about them. I'm pretty sure they field a Junior and a Senior team. Then there's Last Closest Team (another 10 minutes away from Next Closest Team), who field both a Junior and a Senior team. I've talked to someone from their team and she was very welcoming and encouraging and it seems like they're always looking to make up the numbers for the Junior team.
Clearly, I have some more reasearch to do. I'm leaning towards a club with both a Junior and a Senior team. If I get good enough to play at a higher level, I'll be able to move up. I just never thought that finding a camogie team would be so difficult and would involve making difficult-to-reverse decisions. And if there's anything I hate doing, it's making decisions. It's enough to make a girl want to run around and hit something with a stick!