Cork camogie team need to follow the hurlers' lead

Cork camogie team need to follow the hurlers' lead
Limerick’s Caoimhe Lyons about to score the first and only goal in the Munster final as Cork's Chloe Sigerson tries to block. Picture: Liam Burke/Press 22

The Linda Mellerick camogie column

IT might be clichéd and worn out but if any of us ever needed a reminder of the increased percentages that hunger brings to your chances of success in sport then we need not have looked beyond Thurles last Sunday. 

Hunger and leadership, throw off the shackles and go out and express yourself. That’s how the game should be played. 

The hurlers have been inconsistent in that regard over the past few years and it remains to be seen if the win will drive them to even better performances during 2017. I’m sure it will. 

Alan Cadogan of Cork in action against John O'Keeffe of Tipperary in last Sunday's thriller. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Alan Cadogan of Cork in action against John O'Keeffe of Tipperary in last Sunday's thriller. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

They’ll be buzzing after a wonderful display that has the county tentatively excited again.

I hope their female counterparts were all glued to the game, whether live or on TV. Because over the last 12 months they’ve lost the bite that’s required to win titles. 

You could possibly understand it in 2016. Going for three in a row is always difficult. 

But this year’s league final and their Munster final defeat to Limerick last Saturday was a very disappointing return. It didn’t really matter that Cork lost the league final. The performance was second rate and against Kilkenny that was a surprise.

The standard of senior intercounty camogie at present is poor. All the social media and PR work endeavours to mask that but it’s the truth. 

Kilkenny are the best team around. Cork are second and with respect that’s saying it all about the others. 

That's because Cork aren’t a great team at present. We can look very impressive at times but that’s against weak opposition. 

We don’t have consistent leaders. We have players who’ll shine for 10 minutes and then disappear. 

When you want someone to pull a game out of the fire, they aren’t there. And I’m questioning why. 

Why would players sacrifice so much and then take a casual approach into a game? I don’t feel that enough players are taking responsibility for their performance. 

There’s something missing. And it’s from within. 

The panel went back training earlier this year and there appeared to be a spring in their step in the first quarter of the year. But were we fooling ourselves? 

It’s well and good looking hungry against the likes of Dublin and Waterford, the challenge isn’t there. But once the heat steps up the questions are asked.

I remember a few years ago giving out about the same thing. Cork turned it around. They can do it again. 

But players can’t be tagging along for the pride of it all. Get out and make a difference. 

The mantra of hunger, aggression and not accepting substandard efforts should be etched into player’s mentality. It initially comes from the older players. They can only do so much too. 

When people refer to Cork and the older players they are typically talking about the likes of Gemma O’Connor, Aoife Murray, and Orla Cotter. But there are other players on that team now for several seasons and it’s about time they assumed responsibility. 

The trio mentioned have more than done their bit. We need new leaders. 

The championship kicks off on June 19. The time for talking is over. 

In a little over three months, we will know the All-Ireland champions for 2017. Who will it be? 

I believe it can be Cork. But it’ll take a 360-degree swing in attitude.

Speaking of players with great attitude. The New Ireland Assurance Cork Hall of Fame awards will take place on June 1. 

This award was introduced six years ago and since then some great Cork names have been inducted. This year, Stephanie Dunlea, Paula Goggins, Liz Towler and Jennifer O’Leary will receive their award in the Maryborough Hotel. 

I played for many years with Stephanie, Paula, and Liz and just one season with Jenny. Paula and Liz were as tough as you’ll get, primarily lining out as corner-backs. Liz was a flyer. 

They were part of the team when we won our first All-Ireland in 1992 after a gap of nine years. Stephanie arrived on the scene around 1995 if I recall and while she possibly lived at times in Lynn’s shadow she was a tremendous player in her own right. 

Tough and intelligent. We played together at club level with Glen Rovers and have great memories. 

I’ve watched Jenny over the years more so than sat in the same dressing room as her but how could you not admire her speed and skill. When Jenny went on a run, jigging this way and that, the ball seemed to stick to her hurley.

Many former inductees will be in attendance on the day where once again the years will erase and it’ll be as if we all saw each other only last week.

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