While the London-based Thomas McCurtains Camogie Club has only been in existence since 2016, it could be about to effect a major sartorial change in the sport.

This weekend’s annual Camogie Congress will see delegates vote on a motion, originating with McCurtains – the only GAA club in East London, operating across all codes – to remove the mandatory use of skorts for official matches.

Camogie rules

Currently, camogie rules state that playing kits must consist of either a skirt, skort – essentially a skirt with shorts inside – or divided skirt, along with jersey, socks and boots. A survey carried out by McCurtains found that 75% of respondents felt that the skort does not reflect current society and that 82% would prefer the option to wear shorts in games.

In 2023, with support from the British County Board, the club’s ‘Shorts not Skorts’ campaign sought to bring the shorts motion to Congress but it was deferred for a year. Now, co-sponsored by the county boards of Kerry and Meath and with stated backing in the media from Tipperary, it will be put to the floor.

Thomas McCurtains member Shauna Connolly is one of the driving forces behind the push for change.

“In January 2023, the team unanimously came to the decision to support a campaign in favour of the shorts as a staple in the camogie uniform,” she says.

“Players have had enough of discomfort and impracticality. They need to focus on their game.

“Our players do not train in skorts, players prefer to wear shorts at training and during challenge games. We only wear skorts when we have to.

“We designed a pair of camogie shorts in our club colours and introduced them to our playing kit in line with the launch of ‘Shorts not Skorts’.

“Skorts are uncomfortable, distracting, unsuitable for the sport, hinder movement, an additional expense – especially to dual players – outdated and patronising.”

The launch of the campaign coincided with the creation of a petition, which drew 600 signatures in a fortnight alongside comments regarding discomfort and disadvantage, even to the point of the skort being a deterrent to young girls taking up the sport.

“As a player, I want to feel strong, focused and ready for the challenge when I am preparing to step onto a camogie pitch,” says Connolly, “and skorts provide the opposite of that.

“Skorts are a deterrent. It’s the embarrassment of having to pull the shorts down after sprinting for a ball, the unflattering fit and the uncomfortable nature of the fabrics with which they’re made.

“Originally, women who played camogie were forced to put modesty over practicality by wearing long dresses and skirts. Now, the purpose of skorts is for the veil of modesty tied in with a nod to tradition.

“It doesn’t serve the modern player and we need to bring the sport forward and into a new era. Especially as the Camogie Association is marking its 120th anniversary, it’s the perfect opportunity to mark it with the introduction of shorts to the playing kit.”

Status quo

Six years ago, a similar motion from Clare was heavily defeated at Congress but Connolly feels that the landscape has altered in the interim.

“I think since 2018 a lot has changed in women’s sports,” she says.

“We see the Ireland women’s rugby team, Kerry ladies’ footballers and others change from white to navy or darker coloured shorts to ease period concerns.

“England women’s hockey team last year changed their rules to include shorts alongside skorts. Women and girls are not settling for the status quo and they want a change in playing kit to suit their game.

“We hope that the representatives at Congress placing votes on the skorts motion will do so with the players of today, and the future in mind.”

A colleague of Connolly’s, Kelly Ann Brennan, who combines playing with the role of co-manager of Thomas McCurtains, sums it up: “I am very proud that my own club is standing up for equality and to make a change. One of our mottos is: ‘Never compromise on our principles,’ and wearing skorts is a compromise we are no longer willing to make.”


The Guinness Six Nations Championshhip isn’t even that small in the rear-view mirror but already the knockout stages of the European Rugby Champions Cup and Challenge Cup are upon us.

A return of just two of the four Irish provinces in the last 16 of the Champions Cup might feel paltry, especially at a time when the national team are the best in Europe. However, it’s worth remembering that Munster left it late to secure qualification and it could have been just Leinster in the top-tier competition and the other three in the Challenge Cup.

Due to the vagaries of the seeded draw, both Leinster and Munster face sides that they met most recently in the competition.

Joe McCarthy of Leinster is tackled by Brian Gleeson of Munster during the URC game at Thomond Park on St Stephen’s Day. The sides are in European action this weekend. \ Seb Daly/Sportsfile


Leinster, ranked second, have a home tie against a Leicester Tigers side seeded 15th, whom they beat 27-10 away from home in January. While the English side have a strong European tradition, they are not at Leinster’s level at the moment and anything other than progression for Leo Cullen’s side on Saturday night would be a huge surprise.

Munster squeezed through as 14th seeds despite defeat at home to Northampton Saints in their last pool game. That result saw Northampton finish top of the second with a 100% record, earning them the third-highest ranking – and a home game against the team in 14th.

Naturally, Munster will be underdogs at Franklin’s Gardens early on Sunday, but it feels like the kind of situation which brings out the best in them.

Connacht and Ulster only managed one win each in the group stage but there is at least the safety net of the Challenge Cup for them.

Both have away ties on Sunday, Ulster against Montpellier and Connacht doing battle with Pau. Neither will fear their opponents but, equally, neither will be feared.

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