Cork camogie clubs will be playing their championships from early August

Cork camogie clubs will be playing their championships from early August
Sarsfields' Michelle Barry racing onto the ball from Inniscarra's Rebecca Quigley in last year's Cork Camogie SE Systems final. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

NOW that we have a return to GAA roadmap, the Cork camogie board met last Monday to start planning their 2020 competitions.

The first thing they did was email all clubs to confirm that they are still partaking in this year’s competitions.

It isn’t a foregone conclusion that all clubs or divisions will pick up where they left off and I think it was a wise call to determine that before the officials start putting club names into the bowl.

Cork will be running their club championships first and will give clubs the option of continuing the league into the winter months.

It’ll be a backdoor scenario in all championship grades. The intermediate championship was originally a round-robin format. Each team is guaranteed two games. There are no draws made yet.

The board will meet again tonight where the clubs will, by then, have confirmed that they are entering this year’s championships and the officers hope to carry out the new draws via Zoom towards the end of this week.

The plan is that championship games will commence towards the end of week one in August.

Speaking with Marian McCarthy earlier this week on the timelines around the championship, her hope is that they will get the club championships finished in time and ahead of the inter-county start-up in October.

To give the inter-county players a bit of space you would be looking at late September at the latest to finish club games.

If the inter-county championship also becomes knockout, who Cork are paired against in round one would have a big bearing. There would be a considerable difference in being paired against Clare than Galway or Kilkenny.

The crossover with the start of the inter-county start-up is very tight. Inter-county managers are going to want their players from September 14 and it’s going to cause problems and friction.

The board can only do its best. These are unusual times and we’re all going to have to work together to get the best for all players. Remember that we have a significant number of dual players and dual clubs.

It isn’t just about club and intercounty camogie. It’s about club and inter-county ladies football too and it’s going to be a huge headache for county boards.

Clubs and players are going to have to accept that these are the cards we are dealt with and there will be no postponing of fixtures once fixed, for any reason.

The gap between games will be shorter than usual too. This will hit divisional players where they may be expected to line out at senior divisional level one day and with their own club at intermediate or junior level the next

. But something’s gotta give. We all must appreciate that the room for flexibility is tight. As always the board will do their best but they aren’t magicians.

I laugh when I think that this is the first year no club is going to have to worry about player’s holidays. That’s a first.

As pitches will be at a premium thank goodness for Castle Road. We will need it more than ever and thankfully it’s a fantastic pitch that can hold a number of games night after night.

And that’s how our championships will play out in order to get them completed. Night after night. Availability of referees will be a problem I’d imagine.

Inter-county training is commencing on September 14 with competitive activity starting on October 17.

The GAA should have given more thought to that. The overrun is going to cause headaches.

As of yet, we’ve had no update from the national Camogie Association. While they’ll go parallel with the GAA I’m sure, as of yet with regards format or fixtures we have no indication of those and we need to know that asap.

Camogie Association president, Kathleen Woods, has said that the championship won’t spill into 2021, but we will be operating on a very tight schedule.
Camogie Association president, Kathleen Woods, has said that the championship won’t spill into 2021, but we will be operating on a very tight schedule.

I understand that there is a fixture meeting on Wednesday and that’s welcomed as, at this point, managers need to know if they intend to finish the minor championship, start the U16 championship and many other things besides.

There’s an awful lot we have yet to know. President of the association, Kathleen Woods, said that the camogie championships won’t spill over into 2021. The GAA on the other hand say that theirs will. 

Spilling over is going to affect 2021 for many teams, particularly those that reach the latter stages of the championships or leagues — whichever goes first. There’ll be no break or start-up winter training.

Having said that, there’ll be no need for winter training as fitness levels will be high. It’s the winter period however when players’ strength and conditioning routines take place.

It’s hard enough to retain titles. It’ll be even harder in 2021.

Guidelines must yet be received on social distancing in grounds. So, we don’t know yet how many spectators will be allowed into Castle Road. The two-metre distancing gaps may be highlighted, but in general, people are just going to have to take personal responsibility.

In everyday life, we can’t mark out two metres all over the country. People can’t be spoon-fed. Individual responsibility must be paramount.

Everything will be happening together. And I’ve no doubt it’ll be very frustrating at times. Excuse the irony, but I can see people's temperatures soaring.

By this time next week, we should all be fairly clear on how our intercounty and club scene will run with fixtures and dates finalised.

It certainly is a year with a difference.

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