Linda Mellerick: Camogie must avoid any rules confusion this summer

An issue over time-keeping in Cork's loss to Kilkenny left a bad taste
Linda Mellerick: Camogie must avoid any rules confusion this summer

Cork's Kate O'Keeffe is tackled by Kerry's Aine O'Connor during the Littlewoods National Camogie League Division 2 at Castle Road. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

THE inter-county championship dates have finally been released, with the All-Ireland senior and intermediate finals on Sunday, September 12.

I’m a little disappointed that this date hasn’t been brought forward, but the association have given themselves a buffer for games that could be postponed due to Covid, and you can understand that approach. I live in hope for an earlier 2022 season so clubs can be in full flow by September 1.

I’m assuming the water-break clock situation is 100% clear to all before championship throws in. Last year, if you recall, there was disquiet after the All-Ireland semi-final between Cork and Kilkenny after the referee declared additional time, and for those watching at home the game seemed to finish two minutes short. What occurred was the referee Owen Elliot did not stop his watch for water breaks (as is the rule), but RTÉ did.

Rule 2.7 stated: “One water break will take place between the 15th and 20th minute in each half. The breaks should last no longer than a minute, with players coming to the area in front of their team zone and clearly marked personal bottles or single-use bottles should be used for fluid intake.

“The referee and any match day clocks shall be stopped for the duration of the water break. The referee shall signal when they restart their watch.”

However, after the semi-final confusion, the following was released: “A spokesperson for the association has told The42 that the reason for the difference in the timekeeping was caused by the RTÉ clock being stopped during the water breaks. Owen Elliot, along with Ray Kelly who was the referee for the clash between Galway and Tipperary, did not stop their watches during the stoppage. The Camogie Association are satisfied that both officials recorded the time accurately in both games.”

That’s a strange one. How could they have recorded the time accurately when the rule states the opposite?

The same rule applies for 2021, so let’s hope all referees are clear on it. Two minutes is a long time in camogie.

If you’re ahead or behind and expecting two minutes remaining, critical decisions can be made, and all of a sudden the whistle blows? Well, you can imagine the anger and frustration there.

The Cork board have released the groups for senior, intermediate, and junior leagues. Full credit to them for the prompt response to the final decision less than two weeks ago that club championships would not start until after the All-Ireland inter-county series.

Clubs will be happy with a round-robin league which will give a total of 92 teams across those grades several games during a six-week period. The league is expected to start June 21 and run until the first week of August.

Cork's Orla Cronin runs at Tipp. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
Cork's Orla Cronin runs at Tipp. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

A big surprise in last weekend’s intercounty league round two game. Gráinne Egan shot 3-5 as Offaly recorded their most significant victory in years with a 4-7 to 1-14 triumph over Dublin, who. Former Galway All-Ireland-winning goalkeeper Susan Earner has clearly had a positive impact on Offaly since becoming manager, and they are now assured of a place in the business end of the competition, the clash with the Cats deciding the top two in Group 3.

Three points from Aisling Maher had edged Dublin ahead, Egan having only pointed from a penalty at the other end. Emma Mulrooney goaled, but Maher and Jody Couch pointed, and the teams went in at the break level 0-7 to 1-4.

Niamh Gannon had been showing well for the Dubs, and when she extended her two points with a goal, it was looking good for the home side as they moved six points clear. Their joy was short-lived, however, as the outstanding Egan rifled home a pair of goals to draw the teams level entering the final quarter.

Sarah Harding edged the visitors ahead, but the crucial score came when Egan completed her hat-trick in the 56th minute. Couch and Maher halved the deficit, but time ran out on Dublin and they must now turn their attentions to the championship.

Limerick also booked their berth in at least the quarter-finals, as a result of their Shannon derby defeat of Clare by 2-14 to 1-11 at Fr McNamara Park in Ennis.

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