Cork remain contenders for camogie glory but style needs to be tweaked

Rebels are blooding young guns while still competing 
Cork remain contenders for camogie glory but style needs to be tweaked

Cork’s Orla Cronin takes a free earlier this season. The West Cork native is one of the best forwards in camogie. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane

SUCH is our history in Cork Camogie at senior level that we expect to win All-Irelands every year. 

At the very least we expect to be in the last two and that’s why losing this year’s All Ireland semi-final to Kilkenny was disappointing. But Cork are in a rebuilding phase and you can’t win All-Irelands every year. 

For the second year in a row Cork fell at the semi-final stage and while we’ll all dissect the game and what Cork should have done better, we’re not that far away, it’s not all doom and gloom. 

Cork will still be in the top three in 2021. Last season was disappointing for them in many ways in that they were in prime position to win the league before the competition was cancelled. 

They had two postponed games due to bad weather to both Offaly and Clare and then Covid-19 kicked in.

Cork would have expected to win those two games, in fact, they only needed to beat Offaly to qualify, and their final opponents would have been Tipperary. 

Cork, despite the introduction of a few new players, at that point would have been favourites to win the league but I think the biggest regret was not having those three games as a run-in to the championship.

But that’s the way the year played out and every county had disruptions and issues due to the pandemic.

Cork weren’t too far away in both semi-finals. 2019 they lost by a point to eventual champions Galway. 

Their short passing game caught them as they couldn’t shake Galway’s intensity and were overturned many times. 

Last year it was by two points to eventual champions Kilkenny in a game they had more than enough possession to win. Cork started that game so brightly and played it fast for the opening twenty minutes or so. 

They played direct, took scores from distance and raced into a 1-3 to no score lead. But Kilkenny started to settle and Cork’s pattern changed. 

Cork's Gemma O’Connor dejected after the loss to Kilkenny, but Rebels remain a top side. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
Cork's Gemma O’Connor dejected after the loss to Kilkenny, but Rebels remain a top side. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

When Orla Cronin and Chloe Sigerson were scoring from out around the 40 Cork were well in control of the game. 

When deliveries started to filter inside they struggled. Kilkenny’s full-back line excelled.

So, it’s not as if everything needs to change but some things should. 

We don’t have the physique to compete for 50/50 balls in a lot of positions. We have speed and we need to capitalise on that. 

Cork’s management would feel that their forward division isn’t winning enough long deliveries in hence their original short passing style. 

As mentioned they moved away from that in the first 20 minutes against Kilkenny and scoring from out around the 40 is good but too few are doing it. So a way must be found to get their inside line in particular winning ball because you can’t expect to win if one of your lines is effectively taken out of the game.

I think Tipperary could have a bigger say this year. 

While still having a fair bit to do in terms of conditioning they lined out in the semi-final without Aishling Moloney and Nicole Walsh, two huge players. 

They lost the semi-final to Galway by six points and should those players figure in 2021 they’ll be there or thereabouts.

This is starting as unpredictably as last season from the arrival of Covid in March. In line with the GAA, the camogie association has issued advice to clubs and counties for activities that are permissible and not permissible in 2021 until further notice.

All collective ‘on-field’ camogie activities (training and competitive) are suspended until further notice.  GAA club grounds must stay closed and obviously, club games are not permitted. 

For inter-county, the specific guidelines are that at present, no adult intercounty collective/ group camogie training is permitted.

Given the current growth rates in virus transmission in both jurisdictions, the date for adult inter-county resumption of training is under review. Counties will be informed as soon as there is any change to this – to confirm a return to collective training date.

For the moment, senior intercounty players may train on an individual basis only. 

No training is currently permitted for any other intercounty panels (minor/U16/development squads).

It’s widely known that some counties across all codes were breaking the guidelines in 2020 to either get a head start or because they were afraid that the opposition were getting a head start on them. 

It’s crucial now that management and players follow them 100%. 

GAA director general Tom Ryan stressed in his correspondence to county secretaries that breaches will be considered misconduct and considered to have discredited the association which carries a minimum eight-week suspension for an individual or team.

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