Linda Mellerick: Camogie rule changes are welcome but will clubs get proper action this summer?

The Association has yet to reveal the details of the inter-county championship but it might not leave much room for club activity in the coming months
Linda Mellerick: Camogie rule changes are welcome but will clubs get proper action this summer?

Cork's Fiona Keating shoots from Wexford's Sarah O'Connor and Laura Dempsey at Páirc Uí Rinn. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

THE focus of last weekend’s annual congress was the trial playing rules, which were motions for voting; all passed with high percentages.

The following rules will come into effect on May 10, ahead of the leagues starting on May 15.

The goalkeeper may use a quick puck-out after a wide ball is signalled by the referee. She must stay within the small parallelogram. Any player deliberately obstructing the goalkeeper’s quick puckout will be dealt with under another rule. Players do not need to be outside the 20m line for a quick puckout.

The referee will have the discretion to stop play. If a goalkeeper chooses a normal puckout, she must wait for the referee’s whistle and normal rules apply.

Rule 11.2 (a): A player may 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’s an indirect free.

Rule 9.7 was amended to allow more contact into the game, although I find the rule change marginal and too discretionary. A section reads: A player may tackle an opponent who is in the act of playing, or in possession of the sliotar, by using minimal contact on an opponent’s body from side-on, once they are making a reasonable effort to gain possession of the sliotar.

Minimal contact is described as ‘contact made while making a reasonable attempt to gain possession of the sliotar’. Contact must not be in an aggressive or cynical manner. I suggest smiling while making the tackle.

I concede that it’s a start, but, unfortunately some referees will allow far more contact than others and the inconsistency will still leave a lot of managers and players frustrated.

Thankfully, motion 10.1 passed, which now makes it a technical foul if a player intentionally drops their hurley. I was desperate for that to go.

Another rule that came into play — and which many, particularly goalkeepers, are grateful for — is that you can no longer score a goal with a handpass. A player can use a handpass to score a point.

Only one player can stand on the goal line for a penalty and the penalty cannot be taken inside the 20m line.

One area to note is 11.1: The advantage rule. The rule states that the advantage time allotted is up to five seconds, if it becomes clear that no advantage has accrued. I think we’ve all seen way above that, with several passes allowed before the referee deems ‘no advantage’ and awards a free to the team from the spot where the foul was committed.

A new non-trial motion: The playing of an opponent’s hurley with a flick in the air or on the ground was narrowly defeated, 51% to 49%. Pity, because I like seeing the ball and play run on from doing that.

After both the Ladies’ Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) and Camogie Association defeated a motion last year to each recognise the dual player, a new rule was passed by 81% to 19%, which reads, ‘The Association recognises the role of the dual player. The Association, in partnership with the LGFA, will endeavour to facilitate, as far as is practicable, the dual player’.

Great to see this, after too much negative publicity surrounding clashes in recent times. Hopefully, we won’t see any of that in the season ahead.

RETURN

All Cork teams go back training on Monday and yet they don’t have an idea of when their championships will be played. The GAA made their 2021 fixtures available on April 8, but the Camogie Association have yet to announce theirs and they really need to make the dates known immediately.

Club and inter-county players are in no-man’s land. Will there be a club/inter-county spilt-season, like 2020? I truly hope there will be. You’d struggle to find any inter-county player that didn’t thoroughly enjoy, and prefer, the split season, with club first, in 2020.

I have my doubts 2021 will follow the same route, even though it was a tremendous success across the board. Clubs won’t have their inter-county players again for the whole summer if we revert.

Cork’s national league in both divisions starts on May 15. The seniors are at home to Tipperary, while the intermediates travel to Tipperary. I can never get my head around this. With both panels crossing over, it’s a headache. Why, when this occurs, there isn’t an ‘every other year’ scenario agreed between counties, I don’t know.

The seniors’ second outing is an away game to Waterford, with the quarter-finals down for the weekend of June 5, the semi-finals June 12, and the finals the weekend of June 19. If the championships throw-in in July, the clubs are really taking a complete back seat until possibly late September, if Cork reach the senior or intermediate finals.

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