At the end of this year, Marion Conway will sail off into the sunset after 44 years of wonderful service to camogie. Player, administrator, referee, gate collector, coach, supporter — the Athleague clubperson has ticked every box there is.
“I’ve loved just being involved, from looking after accounts to meeting people at Congress. There’s a lot more to it now, and it’s hard to get new blood to buy into it,” she acknowledged.
Earlier this year, the Camogie Association recognised Marion’s selfless contribution to the game with a coveted Volunteer of the Year award. A prestigious Sheila McAnulty award for distinguished service also takes pride of place on her mantelpiece.
But she acknowledges that the game faces major challenges going forward.
“Sometimes you’d be worried that camogie might be squeezed out. The organisation needs more new blood because there is a sense that ladies’ football has taken over a bit. Players are being put under a lot of pressure, especially by county managers. It’s a huge undertaking in any young girls’ life.
“By the time these girls get to 15 or 16 years of age, we’re losing too many of them, and the majority of them are nearly gone by the time they hit 18. It’s a big issue,” she insisted.
*Read Marion Conway’s full interview with Ian Cooney in Tuesday’s Roscommon Herald.