On the back of winning the Ashbourne cup an incredible FIVE years in a row, UL Camogie team are finalists in the Hersport.ie ‘Team of the Year’ awards, you can click here to vote for them. Tipperary camogie player and UL graduate Cáit Devane not only played on four Ashbourne cup campaigns as a student but returned to the Ashbourne management team for 3 more after graduating. This is her student story.
My name is Cáit Devane and I can honestly say that one of the best decisions I ever made in my life was choosing to study at the University of Limerick.
I studied PE and Irish for four years, aside from my overall enjoyment of the course I chose I was fortunate to become a member of the UL GAA club. It was a no-brainer for me as sport and GAA has always played a massive part in my life so when the time came to go to college it was the first place I went to during the Clubs and Socs drive.
I signed up without hesitation and never looked back. I was immediately welcomed with open arms into the club. It had a massive positive impact on my initial integration into college life which can be daunting at first.
The facilities that the college has to offer are second to none, it is a center of excellence not only from an academic point of view but from a sporting perspective also.
One of the main reasons I chose PE was down to my interest in sport. Now, having experienced all the different aspects of the course has opened my eyes to other areas such as sport psychology, anatomy and biomechanics.
I have gained fantastic knowledge from the course not only as a PE student but for improving my sporting career also.
Getting the balance between sport and studies is always a challenge but I liked being busy and found that I was more productive when I was busy.
I learned quickly that keeping up with assignments was very important. I tried to keep attendance high and to do assignments as they presented themselves which avoided the panic towards the end of a semester.
Making out a weekly plan I found helped me get the balance right as I had a clear vision at the start of the week of what was expected of me academically and on the sports field for the coming week.
I loved having trained as a release from the studies. It gave a focus for the week and added to the social aspect of college for me. Some of my best friends from my college days are people I met through the GAA club, be it playing with them, different managers, or different social events that were organised throughout the year.
The GAA club has a real family feel to it and mingling between teams and codes is encouraged which I loved. I was lucky enough to be involved in four Ashbourne Cup campaigns during my time in UL. These were stand out memories for me without a shadow of a doubt.
It is a unique competition which runs over one weekend. Even though I was successful in only one of these campaigns, the enjoyment and fun that was had kept me coming back year after year.
Being a part of a team has many benefits, it is nice to be associated with something bigger than any one person.
I learned how to deal with adversity, I became a better communicator but most of all it also opened my eyes to the importance of having different people involved within a team set up, either in a sporting scenario or a business one.
Having people with different attributes to call upon and varying opinions is what makes good teams great. I would highly recommend anyone interested in the GAA to join the club in UL, it was a decision to this day I am grateful I made.
The biggest compliment I can give the GAA club in UL is that after I graduated, I wanted to still stay involved and give back to the set up that had given me so much during my four years studying there. I returned for three years as part of the Ashbourne management team. The place is so infectious I found it hard to leave!