Jovita Delaney - Cashel Person of the Year
Jovita Delaney, who captained the Tipperary senior camogie team to All-Ireland victory in 2000, has won the Cashel Person of the Year award. The award, organised by the Cashel Lions Club, has been in existence for fifteen years and Jovita is the youngest winner to date. The presentation of the award will be made in Halla na Feile, Cashel, on Sunday night, May 6.
Jovita was extremely pleased to be chosen. Since winning the All-Ireland last year, she has been the recipient of many awards. These include the Player of the Match for her display in the All-Ireland, when she saved Tipperary again and again with brilliant saves, the Eircell All-Star award. the Manchester Tipperary Association's Sports Person of the Year award, the Canon Hayes Recreation Centre County Award, the Cidona Award and the Kilkenny Slievenamon Association's Sportsperson of the Year award. She is very proud of all these awards and of the many presentations made to her and her team mates by many clubs. But she has a very special place for the Cashel Person of the Year award because it's the highest recognition her home town could give her.
Of course she's not really a Cashel person but very much a Boherlahan woman, who was born in that parish, a little over a mile from the town. All her camogie has been played in Cashel or with Cashel. While she was a student in the Presentation Convent she came under the influence of Martin Quirke, who did so much to develop camogie in the school. 'I would have got nowhere without the dedication and commitment he gave to camogie in the school,' she said.
Another person she mentions as important in her early formation is Kirsty McCluskey, who did so much for the promotion of juvenile camogie in the town. 'Without this work and effort with juveniles, there can be no camogie players,' she believes. She also praised the work of Tom Devitt for his encouragement of camogie.
Presentation Covent, Cashel
Jovita didn't enjoy much success at Presentation Convent. 'We got to a number of junior and senior All-Ireland semifinals and finals but won none of them. We seemed to be always beaten by Loughrea'. There was one success in the All-Ireland Schools seven-a-side in 1989.
After secondary school Jovita went to Strawberry Hill College in the U.K. where she studied for a degree in Physical Education, Science and Biology. There was no camogie there and she mostly played basketball. There were a lot of Irish students in the college at the time, especially from the North.
Having completed the four-year course she came back to a job in Dublin, where she spent four years. Three years ago she got a job in Tarbert Comprehensive School, where there are about 700 pupils. She doesn't get any chance of camogie there as football is the game and she is in charge of that, plus basketball and badminton.
During these years of training and teaching she has been making a name for herself in camogie. She has progressed up the ranks from a minor All-Ireland with Tipperary in 1990, 'to a junior in 1992, after losing two AII-Irelands in that grade in 1990 and 1991, an intermediate in 1997 and two seniors in 1999 and 2000. So she has the complete All-Ireland set and understandably proud of her achievement. She has also had success at club level, winning county finals in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Earlier she had won two more, in 1990 and 1991. What has eluded her is success in the club championship. Grannagh, Ballingarry have been their stumbling block in this area, having beaten Cashel a number of times, especially in the Munster final in 1999.
With so much involvement in the game of camogie, Jovita has little time for other interests. The training schedule and the games take up a lot of time. Her work distance from the county is another problem. She won't have the burden of captaincy this year as that has gone to Emily Hayden. 'It's only fair that someone else has the honour.' she adds.
She is reasonably happy with the national profile of camogie, even though it is not as high as she should like to see it. The televising of the All-Ireland finals has worked wonders to improve the image. The newspaper coverage of the game has expanded out of all proportion. She recalls that when they won the All-Ireland junior in 1992 it hardly got a mention in the paper.
She is looking forward with a keeness and expectation to the coming year. One need hardly mention that a third senior All-Ireland is a top priority. It will be difficult but the dedication and commitment are there and there is absolutely no doubt that when the crunch comes, Jovita Delaney will not be found wanting.
County Tipperary Supplement, The Examiner, April 9, 2001