Arien Delaney enjoying Camross adventure
By Cian O'Connell
In Camross tradition will always matter. During demanding days when titles weren’t being secured, the delicious thoughts of a decorated past and the promise of the future is what kept them going.
Ultimately it is one of the chief reasons Arien Delaney’s passion for the Camross cause still burns brightly. Senior manager, Juvenile Committee Chairman, Camross hurling is part and parcel of his life.
Having guided Camross to senior success in 2013, Delaney was going to step away at the end of last year. Delaney was persuaded to give one more campaign: Laois glory has followed.
How demanding is it for Delaney to be so involved in different aspects of the club? “No, it isn't, it is what I love,” Delaney replies instantly.
“A lad said to me before about the pressure of managing Camross, there is no pressure. If you love doing something there is no pressure, everything is positive. Five years is a long time, I thought maybe lads might get sick of listening to me, but I couldn't say it is tough.
“If you love it why not do it? If you feel you can contribute, just try to your best for the time you are in it, you can then walk away with your head held high.
“I'm doing my best, that is all you can do. I wouldn't look at it as a chore, I would look at it as a privilege. Plenty of good men managed Camross down through the years, lucky enough I got an opportunity. While I'm there I'm going to embrace it.”
That is precisely the drive and desire Camross have shown throughout the current campaign. A thrilling Laois decider went the distance against Clough-Ballacolla, but Camross remained cool.
Now they want to make an impact in Leinster. Two provincial titles were secured by Camross in 1976 and 1996. A proud Camross history exists.
“Definitely, we are really excited and looking forward to it a lot,” Delaney says about Sunday’s tussle against Carlow outfit Mount Leinster Rangers at O’Moore Park. “We have a good tradition in Leinster in the club and we are really looking forward to it.
“The tradition does matter a lot, it gives us help because in the parish here you have plenty of guys with Leinster medals.
“It gives us belief that some of the lads fathers and uncles that they have Leinster medals. It shows that it is not an unachievable goal. It is achievable if you have the proper mentality and proper attitude, I suppose, really. You should have no fear, embrace the challenge, that is what it is all about embracing the challenge.”
Camross have been willing to work and subsequently dream. There is a spirit and craving to succeed. “We have very good young lads, it just happens that I'm Juvenile Chairman,” Delaney states.
“We have a very good Juvenile committee who are putting in tremendous work at underage level to try to bring Camross back up.
“We probably had a good few lean years where maybe not as much stuff had been done, not intentionally, but maybe we weren't at the level we should have been at within the club. In the last few years it is really after taking off.
“This year we won the Under 17, minor, Under 12, we now are in an Under 13 final, we won an Under 10 Shield. There is an awful lot of good work being done at underage so the spirit within the club is fantastic. Our senior committee there has a mixture of young and old. There is a lot of doers, there is nobody just sitting there talking.
“There is an awful lot of work being put in, tremendous work, people have good ideas and they are willing to put their shoulder to the wheel, to work for the club which is massively important. There is a massive togetherness within the club to bring Camross up and keep it up.”
It isn’t easy, though, because Camross face familiar difficulties. Low numbers can be an issue at different age groups. “This year we won a minor, lucky enough we had 23 of the age,” Delaney explains. “As it stands our Under 16s had to amalgamate with Ballyfin because of the number of players.
“They were short numbers, we were short numbers. It is a typical rural club where you will have a peak and a trough. One year you could be lucky to have an awful lot of boys being born in the year. Another year you may not be so lucky.”
Delaney can find the words, though, to capture what the sport means to people Camross. “It isn't so much about the quantity, it is more about the quality of player that is coming through,” Delaney adds.
“You want to instill a love of Camross, a love of hurling in them from a young age. Nine times out of 10 those chaps don't leave, they stay hurling away.
“Whether it is senior or junior a love of the club has been created from a young age. That is what we are trying to instill. First of all, a love of the club and second of all, a love of hurling in general.”
Few are lost in Camross. There is always some role to be fulfilled. “That is massive, maybe a guy that might never be a senior hurler he could definitely be a good club administrator,” Delaney comments.
“That is what makes Camross a unique club in a way. What makes Camross so unique are the club members and the people in it. We pride ourselves on that.
“Nobody is discarded, nobody is left by the wayside, everybody is looking the one way. That is the way we want it to be, and the way it should be.” Delaney continues to prove himself as a most valuable and loyal Camross leader.