Plenty of excitement in opening rounds of the Cork camogie championship with room for improvement

Plenty of excitement in opening rounds of the Cork camogie championship with room for improvement
Sarsfields' Chloe Casey wins the ball from Douglas' Julia White and Katelyn Holland. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

WITH a three-week break to the All-Ireland camogie semi-final, seven senior club games took place over a four-day period last week. 

From the games I attended, most were exciting due to their battles, but the standard wasn’t great. 

Maybe it’s the first-round syndrome but all teams would need to raise matters significantly. I saw too much hand-passing, poor distribution and striking. 

I didn’t see the Courcey Rovers versus Milford game and considering the margin of victory for Rovers, maybe my comments aren’t relevant there. There was high scoring in a few games, the aforementioned wiping the pitch with Milford, 6-23 to 0-5. 

I know Milford were missing a few key players such as Laura Stack and Maria and Eimear Watson, but they still had a number of prominent players and while Rovers were expected to advance, no one anticipated that result. Have Rovers come on significantly since last October’s county final appearance or were Milford awful on the night? Probably a bit of both. 

Courceys have a great team on paper. Linda Collins is just flying it, getting better with every season and Fiona Keating excites me no end. Ashling Moloney is also a great leader in defence. 

I can’t understand why Milford continue to remove themselves from playing in the league. I could absolutely understand it when they were playing in All-Ireland finals where their season finished in March. But for the past three years, their season was over by October the latest. 

They were always a slow-starting team, getting stronger as the season progressed, but considering the position they now find themselves in, surely the league would oil the wheels and develop new players.

For the second season in a row St Catherine's were pipped by a point in their opening round. The game went to extra time and it became extremely dark. Over the course of the 80 minutes Killeagh deserved to advance. What I noticed, in particular in this game, and maybe it’s because there were four Cork senior players involved, is that the system that Cork are now adopting of playing it through the lines is carried through to club games by the players. 

That’s fine except that their club teammates aren’t tuned in to the same thought process and a number of passes go astray.

I mentioned in my preview that if Éire Óg brought a spirited challenge to champions Inniscarra they could walk off the pitch with their heads high. And so it turned out. While Inniscarra were always in control, a 1-15 to 0-6 defeat was an encouraging start for the newly-promoted side.

The narrowest of margins for St Finbarr's over Ballygarvan, 2-13 to 3-9. Ballygarvan have made strong progress over the past couple of seasons and now meet Milford in round two. 

St Finbarr's Aoife O'Neill gets away from Ballygarvan's Molly Kelleher. Picture: Gavin Browne
St Finbarr's Aoife O'Neill gets away from Ballygarvan's Molly Kelleher. Picture: Gavin Browne

St Finbarr's are putting in great work and that win will boost them significantly.

The Glen scoring 2-1 in the space of four minutes was daylight robbery in Castleroad against Ballincollig to win by a goal. It shows once again that the game isn’t over until it’s over and anything can happen. 

Huge credit to the Glen for their ‘Never Say Die Attitude’. It was a scrappy game with far too many needless frees. 

Ballincollig's Hannah O'Leary is tackled by Glen Rovers' Lydia Cunningham. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Ballincollig's Hannah O'Leary is tackled by Glen Rovers' Lydia Cunningham. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

It’s infuriating for players and management not to mention spectators, but we’ve gone down this route so many times I won’t get into it again. 

Linda Dorgan was just tremendous for Ballincollig. She was the oldest on the pitch, but her level of fitness left others in the shade.

Psychologically it was a big win for Sarsfields over Douglas. Strangely, for the amount of underage success the majority of these players have had the confidence isn’t yet displaying itself on the senior stage. But it’ll come. 

And no better person to instil it into them than Emer Fennell. What a servant she has been to Sarsfields. 

It was her leadership which slowly brought her teammates around to finish up scoring 4-14. Defensively Sars are developing strongly. 

Without Katrina Mackey Douglas struggled. They rely so much on their inter-county players, as most clubs do. 

But it’s more evident with Douglas than others. 

I just love watching Joy Leo. She has the heart of a lion. She’d be a starter for me in any side. Emer McAndrew is another who leaves everything on the pitch.

Carbery, without Orla Cronin and Libby Coppinger, pipped Cloughduv by two points. Disappointing for Cloughduv but they’re far from finished yet.

Focus now turns back to the All-Ireland semi-final for Cork on August 17.

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