Linda Mellerick breaks down key trends in the Cork senior camogie championship

Linda Mellerick breaks down key trends in the Cork senior camogie championship
Sarsfields' goalkeeper Molly Lynch takes a penalty which was saved by Glen Rovers' goalkeeper Lisa O'Riordan during the SE Systems Cork senior camogie championship at Castle Road. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

WE await one more result from round one to finalise the backdoor pairings in this year’s SE Systems Cork senior camogie championship. 

Douglas face Ballincollig, Cloughduv v Sarsfields, Milford v Ballygarvan and Newcestown will play the winners of Imokilly and Seandún who line out against each other next Tuesday evening.

Aoife Hurley, St Catherine’s, getting between Ballygarvan players Ellen O’Regan and Sinead Lyons. Picture: Dan Linehan
Aoife Hurley, St Catherine’s, getting between Ballygarvan players Ellen O’Regan and Sinead Lyons. Picture: Dan Linehan

The results last week were as we felt they might play out except for the Glen-Sars encounter where that game was always going to be hard to call, particularly with the retirement of Emer Fennell. 

What a loss she was! She scored 5-31 in last year’s championship, 5-10 from play. That aside, she raised the confidence of those around her and Sars missed that leadership up front last Sunday. 

But Sars aren’t gone away and their defeat to the Glen might be the medicine they need to dig deeper. That’s not to take from the Glen’s performance. It was excellent. 

I’m saying a long time that the Glen needed leaders and they had them in abundance. Karen O’Connell, Lauren Callanan and Lydia Cunningham were outstanding and they’re the leaders you expect to see. 

And around them they had great performers all over the field. It’s great to have a spread of scorers and the three-points Katie Walsh produced from acute angles, one a particularly great score from a tight angle in the first half, were top class. 

Youngster Kayleigh O’Sullivan’s two were of an equal quality, none more so that the one which gave the Glen a two-point cushion in injury time. Emma Murphy was strong and scored a great point to give the lead on 62 minutes. 

I was impressed with Cliona Martin at corner back who played a steady game. When Áine Mullins netted for Sars in the second half to give them a three-point lead it could have been the turning point but the way the Glen battled back showed the positive switch in their mindset compared to that of recent times and their final five minutes implied they were the champions and not Sars. 

It was a great game from two fine sides, fully committed and at a fast attacking pace. There’s a long road to go yet and these two teams will have a big say as the championship progresses.

Cloughduv are a young side and felt the impact against a Courcey Rovers side injury free and with experienced talent in every line. Edel and Ashling Moloney and Ciara Hayes are around a while and lined out in the county final of 2018. Jacinta Crowley’s return was a blessing around the middle of the park and what management team wouldn’t like to have three forwards the calibre of Linda Collins, Fiona Keating and Saoirse McCarthy. 

Briege Corkery was a loss for Cloughduv, she most definitely would have run at Courceys’ defence and tested them more. But time moves on and Cloughduv will rebuild as they always do. Unfortunately for them they have a tough backdoor against Sars but again they won’t be found wanting on the effort front.

Killeagh have rejigged their team in an effort to strengthen their forward line. Laura Treacy, moving to midfield, seems to enjoy the freedom and enthusiastically covered a lot of ground on Saturday. 

Chloe Sigerson has moved into full-forward. Time will tell if that will work for the East Cork side. 

It’s all very well having talent on the square but the ball must get in and if that supply is cut off or Chloe meets a tenacious full-back then her talent is nullified. The square is a constricted position with little freedom on a tight defender.

I have to mention again that I thought Newcestown’s Mary McSweeney had a fine game at full-back. Yes, the Cork star finished with 1-15, 1-11 from placed balls, and her exhibit of free taking and her sidelines, which are a joy to watch, were exemplary but on 50-50 balls McSweeney did very well. 

I think Chloe must be one of the sweetest strikers of the ball in Cork at the moment. It looks effortless with great distance and style. 

Newcestown did well for their first year up. They held Killeagh to level terms at the break. The speed at senior level compared with intermediate is a massive step up and being second to the ball is what led to the number of frees being presented to Chloe to convert.

The St Finbarr's and Douglas game was ruined by frees and stoppages. A total of 45 and a number of throw-ins stopped any momentum. Some frees were genuine but a lot could have been left play out. I have annoyance at times with the advantage rule. 

Chloe Nason of Douglas is challenged by Aisling Shannon of St Finbarr's. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Chloe Nason of Douglas is challenged by Aisling Shannon of St Finbarr's. Picture: Howard Crowdy

The ref must allow the advantage run for up to five seconds after the foul or for less time if it becomes clear that no advantage has accrued. Yet we find referees letting the play go on for far longer and still calling it back if no advantage occurs. The rules don’t state that you wait until the ball is passed or a score attempted before deciding. It’s five seconds.

Round one was always going to be tough considering the long layoff teams had. Getting to match pace was going to be harder for some than others.

The cobwebs have been knocked off now and we look forward to round two.

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