The Irish Times view on the controversy in camogie: an embarrassing failure to recognise the wishes of players

There are bigger issues in camogie than skorts, but for those who play this was another demonstration of how their voices are rarely heard

Camogie’s long-running skorts controversy reads like a tale from a bygone age. It resurfaced after delegates at the sport’s annual congress were asked recently to vote on motions calling for its players to be allowed wear shorts.

Skorts are an amalgam of shorts and skirts and camogie’s rule book obliges its players to wear them. But the vast majority of those players – 82 per cent in a survey carried out last year by London GAA club Thomas MacCurtain – find them restricting and uncomfortable, and would prefer to wear shorts, as most do in training.

It was assumed, then, that the delegates at the Camogie Association congress would respect the players’ wishes and vote accordingly, but instead 64 per cent of them rejected a motion calling for skorts to be ditched completely, while 55 per cent voted against making shorts an option alongside them. Writing this week in a letter to The Irish Times, Joan Maher, an All-Ireland winner with Dublin in 1959, 1960 and 1961, said she was “stunned and dismayed” by these “ludicrous decisions”, a view that has been echoed by several current players. They’re absolutely right.

Skorts were introduced in the 1970s after decades of players having to wear kits comically unsuited to playing sport, starting with skirts that could be no more than six inches above the ground. Femininity, with a dollop of modesty thrown in, was the chief requirement, rather than the comfort of the players. The switch to skorts was an attempt to find a middle ground.


For an association often accused of being slow to move with the times, and of not listening enough to the people who actually play the sport, those votes are an embarrassment. There are bigger issues in camogie, not least player welfare, expenses, the quality of training facilities, clashing fixtures, the rules of the game, and so on, but for its current players, this was simply another demonstration of how their voices are rarely heard. They should not have to wait until 2027, when the Camogie Association is due to fully integrate with the GAA, for that to finally happen.