Camogie (Irish: camógaíocht; formerly called camoguidheacht) is an Irish stick-and-ball team sport played by women; it is almost identical to the game of hurling played by men. Camogie is played by 100,000 women in Ireland and worldwide, largely among Irish communities.It is organised by the Dublin-based Camogie Association or An Cumann Camógaíochta.
Matches are contested by two teams of 15 a side, using a field 130m to 145m long and 80m to 90m wide. H-shape goals are used, a goal (scored when the ball goes between the posts and under the bar) is equal to three points and a point (scored when the ball goes over the bar) is equal to one point.
The annual All Ireland Camogie Championship has a record attendance of 33,154 while average attendances in recent years are in the region of 15,000 to 18,000. The final is televised live, witha TV audience of over 300,000 being claimed.
The rules are almost identical to hurling, with a few exceptions.
- Goalkeepers wear the same colours as outfield players. This is because no special rules apply to the goalkeeper and so there is no need for officials to differentiate between goalkeeper and outfielders.
- A camogie player can handpass a score (forbidden in hurling since 1980)
- Camogie games last 60 minutes (senior inter-county hurling games last 70)
- Dropping the camogie stick to handpass the ball is permitted.
- A smaller sliotar (ball) is used in camogie - commonly known as a size 4 sliotar - whereas hurlers play with a size 5 sliotar.
- If a defending player hits the sliotar wide, a 45-metre puck is awarded to the opposition (in hurling, it is a 65-metre puck)
- After a score, the goalkeeper pucks out from the 13-metre line. (in hurling, he must puck from the end line)
- The metal band on the camogie stick must be covered with tape. (not necessary in hurling)
- Side–to-side charges are forbidden. (permitted in hurling)
- Two points are awarded for a score direct from a sideline cut (since March 2012)
Experimental rules were drawn up in 1903 for a female stick-and-ball game by Máire Ní Chinnéide, Seán Ó Ceallaigh, Tadhg Ó Donnchadha and Séamus Ó Braonáin. The Official Launch of Camogie took place with the first public match between Craobh an Chéitinnigh (Keatings branch of the Gaelic League) and Cúchulainns on July 17 at a Feis in Navan. The sport's governing body, the Camogie Association or An Cumann Camógaíochta was founded in 1905 and re-constituted in 1911, 1923 and 1939. Until June 2010 it was known as Cumann Camógaíochta na nGael.
Under Séamus Ó Braonáin’s original 1903 camogie rules both the match and the field were shorter than their hurling equivalents. Matches were 40 minutes, increased to 50 minutes in 1934, and playing fields 125-130 yards (114-119m) long and 65-70 yards (59-64m) wide. Until 1979 a points bar was also used, meaning that a point would not be allowed if it travelled over this bar, a somewhat contentious rule through the 75 years it was in use. Teams were regulated at 12 a side, using an eliptical formation (1-3-3-3-1) although it was more a "squeezed lemon" formation with the three midfield players grouped more closely together than their counterpart on the half back and half-forward lines. In 1999 camogie moved to the GAA field-size and 15-a-side, adopting the standard GAA butterfly formation (3-3-2-3-3).
The name was invented by Tadhg Ua Donnchadha (Tórna) at meetings in 1903 in advance of the first matches in 1904. Men play using a curved stick called in Irish a camán. Women would use a shorter stick, at one stage described by the diminutive form camóg. The suffix -aíocht (originally “uidheacht”) was added to both words to give names for the sports: camánaíocht (which became iománaíocht) and camógaíocht. When the Gaelic Athletic Association was founded in 1884 the English-origin name "hurling" was given to the men's game. When an organisation for women was set up in 1904, it was decided to Anglicise the Irish name camógaíocht to camogie.
An Cumann Camógaíochta has a similar structure to the Gaelic Athletic Association, with an Annual Congress every spring which decides on policy and major issues such as rule changes, and an executive council, the Árd Chómhairle which deals with short-term issues and governance. The game is administered from a headquarters in Croke Park in Dublin. Each of 28 county boards takes control of its own affairs (all of the Irish counties except Fermanagh, Leitrimand Sligo), with the number of clubs ranging from 58 in Cork to one in Leitrim. There are four provincial councils and affiliates in Asia, Australia, Britain, Europe, New York, New Zealand and North America.