Linda Mellerick: Watching points hit from 80 yards out isn't entertaining

Our camogie columnist on why close-combat, high-fielding and goals are what make the sport entertaining, not the current obsession with possession
Linda Mellerick: Watching points hit from 80 yards out isn't entertaining

COMMITTED: Tipperary's Nicole Walsh and Laura Hayes of Cork battle for the sliotar at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

IT'S somewhat amusing that camogie players have been screaming for years to allow more contact into their game to stop the plethora of frees which at times reached the mid-40s per game. 

Just as the Association introduced more contact, the GAA seem to be taking a step backwards. Sylvie Linnane, former Galway player, said in last Wednesday’s Irish Examiner that he sees camogie now as more physical than hurling. I think that’s a bit of a stretch, let’s see how this season plays out.

I agree with many sentiments regarding hurling over the past couple of weeks. In fact, I’ve been saying it for the past couple of years, that hurling is getting boring. 

I don’t get any thrill out of seeing a player score from 60-80 yards. If it were a rare moment, it would raise the rafters but it’s all too familiar now. You win a puck-out with a bit of space and it’s over the bar. 

I miss the 15-on-15, the win-your-own battle scenario, the groundstrokes, the high fielding. I dislike the short hand-passing game. To me, you should use it only to get out of trouble. 

But the game has changed so much. It’s all about fitness, speed, and recycling now or else be prepared to attempt point after point from anywhere on the pitch and what harm if you have 15 wides out of 40 attempts if 25 points win you a game!

I was happy with Cork’s win over Tipperary last Saturday in Páirc Ui Chaoimh even though I thought Tipp were poor. They’re far off the pace and will need to work hard. 

Cork looked slick with some good fast play. Ashling Thompson and Katrina Mackey look as if they could make a great partnership at midfield and I think Mackey should be left there now rather than moving in and out. Laura Treacy was very strong at centre-back. In fact, Cork have a good solid half-back line. I’m delighted to see Laura hold such a pivotal position as I think she reads the game well and is a leader. 

Debuts for Ashling Egan, Newcestown’s Ciara O’Sullivan and substitutes Cliona Dooley of Ballinora and Isobel Sheehan of Éire Óg. What an honour for clubs such as Ballinora and Newcestown. With the league condensed into three groups and just two games each, by virtue of their win over Tipp Cork are through to the quarter-final and games are what’s important with a developing squad.

Cork's Amy O’Connor with goalkeeper Aine Slattery and Karen Kennedy of Tipperary. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
Cork's Amy O’Connor with goalkeeper Aine Slattery and Karen Kennedy of Tipperary. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

In group 3, Kilkenny as expected triumphed over Dublin, but they were made to work hard by a gritty Dublin in a dour affair at John Locke Park, Kilkenny. The home side laid the foundation for their success in the opening seven minutes, at the end of which they led by 1-2 to 0-0 after points from Denise Gaule and Michaela Kennelly and a fortuitous goal by Aoife Doyle.

That latter score came after the Dubs threatened a goal at the other end and they matched their opponents for the remainder of the game.

Aisling Maher and Jody Couch raised white flags to make it 1-5 to 0-3 at the interval and scores were at even more of a premium after the resumption, Gaule and Maher slotting placed balls for their sides.

It was Dublin that needed the green flag, but it wasn’t forthcoming and so the Cats prevailed by 1-8 to 0-6.

Clare offered stern resistance to Galway too in group 1, the Tribeswomen leaning on their goal threat to overcome a first half in which they were clear second best, to take the spoils by 3-11 to 0-15 against last year’s All-Ireland quarter-finalists.

The opening goal arrived after just two minutes and it was a classy finish by Siobhán McGrath, who won possession on the end-line before making her way goalward and from a tight angle, batting the sliotar to the net.

Clare were undeterred and with Zi Yan Spillane very prominent, accelerated into a four-point lead, Chloe Morey landing a free from distance. When Máire McGrath and Áine O’Loughlin also found the target, it was 0-8 to 1-1.

Once more, it was Siobhán McGrath that came up with the vital reply, grabbing her second goal just before the water break. Ailish O’Reilly raised another green flag in the dying embers of the first half but Eimear Kelly slotted her fourth point, edging Clare ahead by just one, 0-12 to 3-2 at the change of ends, but they should have had much more in hand.

Galway were much improved after the restart. Aoife Donohue and McGrath were multiple point scorers, while Ger O’Connell’s charges could add to their interval lead with three points and that left them overcome by 3-11 to 0-15.

Tempers flare between Sinead Meagher in action against Ashling Moloney of Cork in the Division 2 game at Drom-Inch. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Tempers flare between Sinead Meagher in action against Ashling Moloney of Cork in the Division 2 game at Drom-Inch. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

In Division 2 Cork also beat Tipperary and face Kerry today in Castle road after Kerry’s impressive 0-14 to 0-8 win over Galway last weekend.

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