All-Star returns to Cork camogie squad for Páirc Uí Chaoimh clash but host of big names are absent 

All-Star returns to Cork camogie squad for Páirc Uí Chaoimh clash but host of big names are absent 
Ashling Thompson has returned to the Cork camogie squad after taking time out. Picture; INPHO/Cathal Noonan

CORK get their 2020 league underway against Waterford in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday in a double-header with the Cork versus Tipperary hurling game.

Cork boss Paudie Murray will field a significantly new-look 15 to that which lost last year’s All-Ireland semi-final by a point to eventual champions Galway.

Aoife Murray has retired. Cork hope to see Gemma O’Connor back but she isn’t training with the squad. Orla Cotter has relocated to the US. 

Katrina Mackey is doing a PhD while the hand injury she picked up last year still isn’t right. It’s hoped to see Pamela Mackey back in six weeks once her PhD is completed.

Julia White is holidaying abroad with Briege Corkery just back while Niamh McCarthy has decided to leave the panel.

The good news is that Ashling Thompson is back and could line out in the Páirc. Amy Lee is sure to line out between the posts now with Aoife retired. 

Cork's goalkeeper Aoife Murray clears her lines. Picture: Moya Nolan.
Cork's goalkeeper Aoife Murray clears her lines. Picture: Moya Nolan.

Defensively, Cork still maintain a number of long-standing panellists.

We could see Laura Hayes, Aoife O’Neill or Ciara O’Sullivan taking a position with Saoirse McCarthy and Cliona Healy also figuring.

The average age of the current squad is 22. With Waterford in high tempo after the high-profile appointment of Dan Shanahan, Murray agrees that they’ve a tough job ahead of them in their own yard.

“Look, we’d like to win everything, but we’ve got to be a small bit realistic as well, in that we’ve a very young team and we’re going to have ups and downs.

“We went up to Tipperary two weeks ago (challenge game) and were 5-5 to 0-3 down at half time. We did come back well so it’s a massive learning experience for these girls. We’ll be under massive pressure on Saturday night.

“First of all, most of us are top of the ground hurlers. A few will plough away but the majority of them want the fast ball.

"In one way it’s fairly exciting from Cork camogie’s point of view in that we now have a team taking to the field where the oldest is 24 and the youngest is 18."

It’s a new look league with a number of trial rules commencing. In brief, the rules that will apply are:

A player may use minimal contact on an opponent’s body from side-on, once they are making a reasonable effort to gain possession of the sliotar.

The referee will blow the whistle to signal a wide/score and from that point, the sliotar is back in play and the goalkeeper is free to restart the game.

A player may choose to take a quick free from their hand if they are fouled inside their own 45m line. Only the player that is fouled can take it from the hand and it is an indirect free.

A player who is deemed to be persistently fouling another player in the first instance will be noted by the referee. For any further infringement, normal rules apply.

Should a player deliberately drop their hurley then this will result in a free to the opposing team from where the foul occurred.

Any sliotar that is hand-passed directly into the net by an attacking player will be treated as a wide and therefore result in a puck-out.

A penalty must be struck from on or outside the 20m line. Only one defending player may stand on the goal-line during a penalty and shall not move towards the 20m line before the sliotar has been struck.

I welcome the changes. The only one I have concern about is the ‘contact’ rule. I think it still leaves ambiguity and is open to referees’ interpretation. 

Paudie Murray also welcomes the changes describing them as ‘progressive’ He does, however, feel that there isn’t enough of a trial period.

“’I think we’re trialling these rules in poor weather conditions. At this moment we aren’t coaching our side on the new rules. Why would we spend six weeks coaching on the new rules when they’re only to be there for a few games? I’d like for them to be tried out for a full year.

“I think the handpass rule will slow the game down and the way the contact rule is defined, it’s open to referee discretion. But I think the association are to be complimented on changes overall. 

"I am giving out, however, about having no semi-final in this year’s league. I think it’s doing nothing for the game. I’ve spoken to a number of other senior inter-county managers and not one of us were consulted on it."

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