The Camogie Association in Ireland ran a competition to encourage young girls to creatively express what they missed about camogie during the recent lockdowns. Catie McAleese, a Year 11 student at St Killian’s College in the beautiful Glens of Antrim, wrote Shin Guards and Ponytails. Her poem was awarded third in Ireland.
Shin Guards and Ponytails
By Catie May McAleese
St. Killian’s College
I wait on the side lines
Fence imprinting my cheek,
Unable to play.
I see my gals
Shin guards and ponytails,
Lined up for the game.
I am uncoordinated. I am clumsy. I am slow,
And yet I yearn to be there with them.
But my feet are in my way.
Shrill and sharp the whistle peeps,
And the dance begins.
Synchronised contact mixed with sounds,
Of the team as they move as one.
With instinct each understands,
The other’s special skill.
I look on in awe.
Sliotar swiftly hand-passed and met with wood,
Finished to the net with a satisfied grunt.
The roar goes up,
And I realise my place here
Is not to bruise or get bruised – but to hail and applaud.
Game over, girls spent
Cheeks fresh from the win.
I am welcomed as one of their own.
For my pen is my hurl and the game is my muse,
And I belong.
My cultural identity is just as strong.