Our Teams - Camogie

Dubai Celts Camogie 2016/2017

By Niamh Walsh

The season started with a bang, we blew off the cobwebs at the end of August with the start of pre-season training with a tough Boot Camp at Sports City.

We were very optimistic at the start of the season as we had enrolled a bunch of newcomers from all areas of the Emerald Isle. Compared to previous years the camogie numbers increased quite significantly which made it easier for the magnificent trainers Colin Leacy and Jody Harkin to prepare us for the first round of the Middle East Camogie League in Dubai, which this year, would be made up of 7 teams.
Dubai A and Dubai B, led by the Molly Ryan and Elisha Slattery respectively, were both beaten comfortably by strong Abu Dhabi teams.

It was decided for the second round in Sharjah that the camogie competition would be split into two divisions, Senior and Intermediate. We made two teams, one for each grade.

The emergence of the Kilkenny all-star Kate McDonald, Shoonagh Enright’s huge ability to find the posts and Wexford’s newcomer Sinead Walsh, meant that Dubai A reached the semi-final of the Senior A competition. Unfortunately losing out to a strong Sharjah side, who eventually went on to win the tournament.

Every game was competitive in the intermediate competition. Dubai B missing out on a semi-final place, but concrete performances from Ciara Nolan, Maeve Mckeown and Emma Collery showed the abundance of talent from the side. Aisling Kealy gave an outstanding performance and scooped player of the tournament for Dubai B’s.
Bahrain proved to be one of the highlights of the year. After being defeated on home soil in September and then again in Sharjah in October, Dubai ladies were out for a gallant victory.  That night there was some hard fought games with a whisker between the teams. Sarah Walsh was the captain for the day, a Cork woman who is known to keep the team motivated with her quotes after tough training sessions.
Dubai Celts A won the tournament there were many girls who lead by example one good example was the talented Waterford star Margo Heffernan, daughter of the great Kilkenny hurler Christy Heffernan. Margo was due to leave at Christmas so the team agreed we needed a win for her, after all the hard work and dedication she had shown the camogie set up in Dubai over the years.

In the senior competition, Dubai A emerged victorious and continued their march towards winning the league outright. In the intermediate competition, Dubai B played very well but the night didn’t seem to go to plan. Players being held up at the airport and missing games but they never lost hope with fantastic efforts put in by newcomers Leonie Gallagher, Sinead Gilligan and Nicola O’ Donnell.
The Christmas break gave all of the player’s time to recover from the first part of the season.
The Al Ain tournament was another highpoint to the camogie season for Dubai Celts. A wet, dusty day made conditions impossible at times.  Dubai A had a great start to the day with a win over Abu Dhabi B. They narrowly missed out on beating Sharjah after a fierce second half performance they ended in a draw at the final whistle. The A’s did go on to beat a very strong Abu Dhabi outfit. A great day for the Seniors again!
The intermediate team played extremely well through the awful conditions. They had a strong team with the likes of Laura Gilmore, Ciara Gilmore (a newcomer to the side) and Sarah Mulleady making things difficult for their components. The girls played a stormer (excuse the pun) winning every game but missed out narrowly in the final and unfortunately lost.

We now soldier on to Abu Dhabi with victory in our minds. The championship will hopefully be ours.
When asking some of the newcomers what made them keep coming back each night to training, after each tournament, the answer was simple, dedication. Dedication of the trainers, teammates and players and their hunger to play their native game. Sincere thanks to an amazing group of committed ladies. It is because of these girls that many others feel like they have a little piece of home in the middle of the Arabian Desert.