The Linda Mellerick column: Camogie needs to keep pushing for new heights

The Linda Mellerick column: Camogie needs to keep pushing for new heights

Caoimhe O’Brien, Glen Rovers, greets Hayley Ryan, Blackrock, at the challenge game between Glen Rovers (0-14) and Seandún (0-9) last weekend. Picture: David Ribeiro/M Lee Media.

I REALLY think the Camogie Association are pulling out all the stops in recent times with some fantastic programmes for its members across all ages.

Just this week they launched the ‘Player Welfare’ booklet which includes information on the association’s injury prevention programme. It also includes information on camogie’s early, rapid, and mature ‘movers’ age-appropriate movement programmes.

These programmes were developed by the association’s player welfare co-ordinator Paul O’Donovan in conjunction with researchers in ‘Dublin City University school of health and human performance’ led by Dr Siobhán O’Connor.

The book contents include; injury prevention and concussion from U8s to adult, nutrition and lifestyle, (nutrition, hydration, sleep, work-life balance), health, and wellbeing, which addresses emotional wellbeing, mental health, first aid, being body positive, and alcohol and sports performance.

It really is a top-class production giving step by step guidance with great illustrations.

It’s available on the camogie website and is a must-read for any sports enthusiast, not just camogie for which it is geared.

We still have no draws or dates for the inter-county championships. County boards received forms to confirm the competitions they were remaining in for the season and those forms were to be back to national council last Tuesday. Surely we’ll get something this week. It’s really dragging on.

I know Sinead McNulty is on the Covid-19 advisory board alongside the GAA and LGFA representatives, but more effort needs to be made on statements in relation to camogie as a standalone.

The GAA stance and letters which GAA boards have received with regards to inter-county training is not a camogie statement.

This issue has received more attention in the past week with reports of some counties breaching the guidelines. The GAA could impose sanctions against counties that are training, but guidelines are not rules. I wonder if they acted with suspensions and the like, would they be enforceable?

What is the camogie association's stance on this?

Statements have been few and far between from our national headquarters.

I have concerns that we’ll see out our championships in full at club and county this year. Two Cork clubs have already paused their activities. Argideen Rangers ceased playing after members informed the club they had been in contact with a person confirmed to have tested positive for Covid-19.

Ballinascarthy in West Cork have also temporarily halted activity to comply with public health advice.

What’s gone on with partying among younger people in Cork over the past weeks has already had an effect. Numbers are rising and the rise is predominately in our younger population. That’s a concern and come September and October we could be in a very serious position again.

I hope not, but hope in this case won’t achieve anything. Action needs to be taken. The time for encouraging and educating is gone. While we don’t want to become a ‘controlled’ country there needs to be stronger rules and repercussions for those that carelessly put the country in jeopardy. 

We need to protect those who are most at risk and are doing everything right. There’s no point in pointing fingers afterwards, which is currently what’s happening. Hot air on radio and social media won’t make a shred of difference. Some people suffered horrendous heartbreak during the lockdown and we need to prevent that from re-occurring as best we can.

Strong:

Cork were on course to win their first national league title since 2013 this year. They were certainly in a strong league position. They had two group games postponed against Clare and Offaly due to bad weather, but just one win would have seen them through.

On scoring difference, they were streets again, 17 points ahead of second-placed Clare.

Their last final appearance was 2017 which they lost to Kilkenny but went on to win the All-Ireland against the same opposition.

Kilkenny lay second from bottom in the same group 2. That’s as far down the table as Kilkenny have been for years. They won their third title on the trot in 2018. Cork blitzed them in their group game. 

The Cats were without players such as the Farrells, Michelle Quilty, Ann Dalton, and Davina Tobin, but such was the gap you’d wonder if Kilkenny can do enough over the coming months to get to an All-Ireland final again. Three All-Ireland defeats in a row may have left a deflated and tired side.

Tipperary had already reached the Division 1 final for the first time in 11 years after shocking champions Galway in group 1. It’s a pity for them more so than Cork that the league was cancelled. 

To reach a final was hugely significant for them as they try to reach the dizzy heights of past successes. Galway lay in second place but a point to note is that on scoring difference they had a +12 points advantage over Tipp.

You’d imagine Galway had an off day against the blue and gold when they met, which was the deciding factor.

There are so many unknowns for this year’s championship. Performances will depend on how players individually trained during lockdown, how strong they train with their clubs, how competitive their club championship is and how much desire they still have in them for the 2020 season.

That’ll determine how results will play out. For that reason, this championship is possibly more open than it has been for many a year.

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