Linda Mellerick: Standard is better than ever in the Cork camogie club series

Linda Mellerick: Standard is better than ever in the Cork camogie club series

Christine O'Neill, Courcey Rovers, celebrates scoring a goal against St Catherine's. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

THREE more clubs exited the senior championship last week at quarter-final stage. 

While both semi-finals were down for decision this weekend the Glen Rovers v Inniscarra quarter-final which was postponed goes ahead, meaning that either Douglas or Courcey Rovers will have a two-week lead into the final whereas the Glen or Inniscarra will have the one. 

Unfortunately, that can’t be helped considering the times we find ourselves in and sometimes, assuming everyone is free from any niggling injury, it can work keeping the momentum going and playing again so soon. Equally, it can be a big ask. If you win it’s considered a plus, you lose and it’s a negative.

St Catherine's, Killeagh and Éire Óg were the three teams whose championship hopes have to be shelved for another year.

Many felt that Killeagh’s exit was a surprise. I didn’t so much. 

Granted the absence of Laura Treacy had a significant impact, out with a broken bone in her hand, picked up in Killeagh’s fourth-round victory over Ballygarvan. But Killeagh had a fairly handy championship draw up to now. 

No disrespect to the teams they played but Newcestown, up senior for the first time, and a young Ballygarvan side weren’t considered championship contenders. Yet even in those games, Killeagh weren’t making a mark, not the mark they should have if they wanted a jubilant 2020. 

Scoring 12 points from play against Newcestown and 2-6 against Ballygarvan wasn’t an impressive return and in general play, it just wasn’t happening. I can’t put my finger on why Killeagh aren’t setting the championship alight. They certainly came very close last year with two tremendous games against Inniscarra in the semi-final but in and around that there regularly seems to be something missing.

I have great admiration for Hannah Looney, Laura Treacy and Chloe Sigerson, all great players but when you look at what Douglas are getting out of Katrina and Pam Mackey and Julia White, there's no comparison. 

Why is that? It’s a question Killeagh need to ask themselves. They tried Chloe in the full-forward line. I don’t think it worked out so well but to be fair they had to try something. 

Meabh Cahalane, St Finbarr's, battling Chloe Sigerson, Killeagh. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Meabh Cahalane, St Finbarr's, battling Chloe Sigerson, Killeagh. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Chloe is equally effective scoring-wise out the field and contributes more coming forward. To her credit she went in there and gave it her best shot, possibly preferring to be further out. 

A great sign of a selfless player. Killeagh should have a fairly balanced team. With Stephanie Beausang, Niamh O’Keeffe, Ciara Daly and Jessica O’Shea alongside the three Cork seniors you have a very strong backbone by which to build on and bring on others around you.

I see Douglas’ ‘club only’ players growing with every game. And this reminds me of when they won the title in 2008 and 2011. Steady, disciplined performances by all 15.

Killeagh have been promising for a while and last year would have given much hope but 2020 has turned out to be very disappointing. It happens but the years go quickly by and the promise of a good team can pass.

St Finbarr's gave a good performance. Ashling Egan had a very solid game at full-back adding to an impressive defence. They brought on Ella Wigginton Barrett, granddaughter of the great Dave Wigginton of Cork Hibs, and Eimear Ryan late in the second half and they scored 1-1 between them, Ryan with the goal. That always gives a team a lift when subs come on and make an immediate impact. 

Upfront was where I felt the Barrs would struggle, relying too much on Keeva McCarthy but they hit three goals. They’ve a tough semi-final against Glen Rovers or Inniscarra but is there ever an easy semi-final?

St Catherines lost out by six points to Courcey Rovers. As expected Rovers just had to much firepower to handle. Catherine’s made Rovers fight all the way and you’d expect nothing less from them. 

Even when the game looked to be slipping away from them they battled back and put themselves right back in contention. Rovers can thank them for a really good game ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Douglas.

I’m not sure if I’m the only one but I’m getting a really good vibe out of this year’s championship. The way it’s being run off week after week, the tangible way you can see the positive impact having their Cork players is having on clubs and panels, there’s a real feel-good presence around it. 

I know that having the games behind closed doors is taking from the atmosphere, I certainly get that, but it isn’t impacting on the standard or effort the players are giving on the pitch and you actually tend to forget that there’s no one on the banks watching once the ball is thrown in.

The live streaming of games has brought in a great audience. I know of people watching the games on their large TV screens at home. 

These are neutral spectators to the actual clubs playing, who more than likely wouldn’t physically go to watch the game but are thoroughly enjoying it at home. So, some positives out of the season. 

Surely, the season divide between club and county is now a must with the positivity that has come in the past few months from intercounty players and clubs alike.

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