The Linda Mellerick: Minor cancellation a major disappointment for camogie

The Linda Mellerick: Minor cancellation a major disappointment for camogie
Cork's Miriam Cotter, Emma Murphy and Ciara O'Sullivan celebrate with the trophy after the 2019 minor All-Ireland success. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

I BELIEVED by mid last week that the decision by the camogie association to cancel this year’s minor championship would be reversed.

The association held a virtual meeting on Tuesday with the chairpersons and secretaries of county boards across the country and at the end of that meeting asked for 10 more days to consider their decision.

I took that as a positive sign. This situation had garnered huge national anger and support.

The petition, at the time of writing, had 4,680 signatures while outside of that many well-known male and female GAA players have publicly condemned the decision.

Everyone appreciates how important the minor grade is in so many ways.

Unfortunately, though, on Thursday night, via email, county boards were informed that the association were steadfast in their decision to cancel the championship.

This decision of Ard Chomhairle is now to be challenged in an appeal application under Arbitration and Disputes Resolutions. That has been submitted to the Ard Stiúrthóir of an Cumann Camógaíochta.

It’s a shame it’s come to this and I can’t for the life of me understand the association’s position. I’m genuinely gutted for the players involved.

Meanwhile, as we enter a worrying phase of return to play let’s hope we do get to play all championships. I think another serious wave of Covid 19 will result in 2020 being cancelled altogether at all levels. Undoubtedly getting back training is doing wonders for players, you can feel the buzz they’re getting from being out on the pitch, training hard and having the craic. We can’t underestimate how important that is and I think to shut down for a second time would be horrendous for many.

Let’s keep the positive face out and do whatever we can to minimise the chances of a second wave. It’s individual responsibility at this point that will hopefully see us through.

The full adult camogie club fixtures for 2020 were released this week and I have to say that it’s a breath of fresh air to have a full fixtures list with dates from start to conclusion for all championships. It’s just great. I think we can learn from this.

Giving a dedicated time to club and a dedicated time to county is the perfect way forward. It’s been very difficult for players to plan holidays or anything else in the past as you may not get a match date until a few weeks, often less, in advance of a game and it all depends on the club players’ involvement with the county team and how far the county gets in the All-Ireland championships, across all levels. Completely separating the club and county season is the only way forward. Year in and year out the headaches the fixtures committee have and the frustration clubs are feeling is significant. We could eliminate all of that, create better relationships between clubs and intercounty with a little better planning.

If we can do it in 2020 in such a short window of playing time, why can’t we do it with a full 12 months available to us ?

On the national front I really think it’s about time they got those fixtures out. What’s the hold-up?

The minor championship challenge maybe? We need those dates as soon as possible. There’s nothing like having an actual team and date to focus on to get the adrenaline going and teams need to know who they’re facing at this stage.

I’m looking forward to the senior club championship kicking off on July 31. That curtain raiser is a divisional clash between Seandún and Carbery.

Funnily enough two divisional sides are getting three games this year while clubs are getting two. Seandún, Carbery, and Imokilly stand alone in round one and battle it out with the winners advancing to round 4 (winners round) and second placed moving to round 3 (losers round).

The exciting club ties of round 2 are giving us some immediate games to look forward to. Glen Rovers and Sarsfields should be one to watch. Of course, Sarsfields are coming in defence of their title and if you’re going to be paired against the champions the best time to do that is in the opening round.

Unfortunately for the Glen, Emer Fennell hasn’t retired. And why should she? She was instrumental in Sars’ first county title in 30 years and was the club camogie player of the year. Her fitness is top class and if you’re still enjoying the game you should keep playing.

Glen Rovers have a very good side. They still haven’t reached their potential. But some teams never do and it’s important that they get that bit between their teeth this year and bring it up a notch. Otherwise the momentum will drop off.

St Finbarrs and Douglas usually serve up a cracker but I wonder if the gap has widened. St Finbarr’s reached the semi-finals last year and lost out by just four points to Sars.

Douglas took a heavy defeat to Sars in round one and lost comprehensively to Éire Óg in the backdoor. In their defence, they were without Katrina Mackey for those games and it just shows how much they need her.

Killeagh had a great year, losing a semi-final replay to Inniscarra by a point after two cracking games.

That’ll stand to them as they chase the title in 2020. They face debutants Newcestown on August 1.

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