Pierce Flynn, Park Hotel presents Beth Carton with the February Park Hotel Waterford Sports Star Award. Included are parents Marissa and Joey Carton, Sister Sadie Carton. Grandmother, Anne Dunphy, Ita Murphy, Chairperson Waterford Camogie Board and Kieran O’Connor, adjudicator. Photo Sean Byrne//Deise Sport.
The Park Hotel Waterford Sports Awards honours list can often give a deep insight into the trends and strength of different sports in Waterford over the years.
For example up to September 2015, camogie had just one monthly award (since 1991). In the 18 months since then, camogie has picked up three awards which shows how steep the upward curve has been for the sport in this county in recent years.
On Thursday last, Waterford’s star forward and De La Salle club member, Beth Carton won camogie’s fourth monthly award when she claimed the February award, her first, for starring roles for University of Limerick on their way to winning the Ashbourne Cup and for Waterford in the National Camogie League. She scored 1-8 in the narrow defeat to Wexford in the opening round, before scoring nine of the eleven Waterford points in their excellent away win to Dublin in round two.
Beth was joined at her first Park Award lunch by parents Marissa and Joey Carton, sister Sadie, Grandmother Anne Dunphy and Ita Murphy, Chairperson of the Waterford Camogie Board. The award was presented by Park Hotel proprietor, Pierce Flynn and adjudicator, Kieran O’Connor.
“I’m absolutely honoured to receive this award but I know I’m receiving it on behalf of the rest of the girls and it’s down to the progress that Waterford camogie has made.
It was a great honour to win an Ashbourne Cup in my first year in UL with a great bunch of girls and it was also a great month with Waterford too. We lost out by a point to Wexford and then we had that historic win over Dublin. There’s great work being put into Waterford camogie and we’re all about progressing every time we go out and it certainly feels like we are doing just that.”
As Beth eluded to there, she’s a first year in UL and it would be unusual enough for first years to get a starting role in an Ashbourne Cup winning team, never mind end up as one of the star players.
“Yeah it was great to get in the team and to be playing alongside some of the best players in the country from all over the land. It’s a high standard and I really enjoyed it. That’s why you put in the hard work in training to play at that level and play in games like that.”
Having won the All-Ireland intermediate camogie title in 2015, Waterford are now at the top table of the sport and there’s no doubt in Beth’s mind that it’s a big jump from intermediate to senior.
“The games are played at a higher intensity, that’s the main thing. Last year was when we got our first taste of it and we managed to get our first win and now this year we’re happy with the way the league went for us as we feel we are progressing the whole time, which is the main thing. They’re a hugely dedicated bunch of girls and everybody is pushing everyone else for places in the team and it’s great to be involved with the panel.
All our focus is on June 10 and our first game in the championship game against Kilkenny. Training is tough now at the moment but we’re enjoying it and it’s going well.
It must be difficult juggling college camogie, studies and commitments to Waterford and her club De La Salle?
“It can be tough at times but you just have to plan out the week between studies and camogie but I love it now I must say.”
Beth might be winning her first Park Hotel Award but she is actually the second camogie winner in four months after Patricia Jackman won her first award here in November and Beth says it’s a pleasure to follow Trish into the annals of this awards scheme. “Trish has been immense for Waterford camogie. It’s an honour to be even mentioned in the same frame as her. When I came on the panel first she guided me brilliantly and she’s been absolutely brilliant to me and all the new girls that come into the panel. I think that myself and Trish winning these monthly awards really puts camogie out there and shows the great work that’s being done in the sport in Waterford and it’s just great to get that bit of publicity and hopefully people might come out and have a look and hopefully they’ll enjoy it if they do. To be honest it’s huge for camogie, winning awards likes these.”
Born into a GAA mad house, was always going to be camogie for Beth?
“I suppose I didn’t have much of a choice, only joking. From a young age I was with my dad down the pitch (De La Salle) and from day one I just loved it,” concluded Beth Carton.