Split season has put the pressure on camogie board and Seandún players

Linda Mellerick looks at how difficult it has been to run off games from underage through to senior in the new time-frame after the inter-county campaigns are over
Split season has put the pressure on camogie board and Seandún players

Essie O'Connell, Seandún, is chased by Eimear O'Brien, St Catherine's, in the SE Systems Senior Camogie Championship at Castle Road. Picture: Larry Cummins.

ONCE again this weekend is a flurry of activity with the intermediate and senior camogie championship semi-finals down for decision today.

The junior semi-final and remaining quarter-final between Charleville and St Vincent’s also takes place. During the week there were rumours that Seandún may not field for their semi-final clash with Sarsfields. The reason being; they have players lining out at 12pm with Blackrock in their intermediate semi-final game against Fr O’Neill’s and will have to turn out again at 4.15pm with their divisional side.

In addition, because the Blackrock players have a football championship match on Sunday and the St Vincent’s players have their replay, it was felt that those clubs wouldn’t release their players.

Mid-week at the time of writing, both the Blackrock and St Vincent’s players are lining out with Seandún. Last weekend the likes of Hayley Ryan and Katelyn Hickey had three championship games between their three commitments. That kind of demand screams injury.

I made a few phone calls to see what the situation was and if anything could be done to switch the intermediate or senior semi-finals to try and prevent, at the very least, the semi-finals going ahead on the same day. To be fair, Blackrock were given the opportunity to switch their intermediate semi-final to either Friday evening or Sunday and they decided on Saturday at noon.

You can’t blame them for that. They've players working Friday night and why would they want to play second fiddle to Seandún and not have their own players as fresh as they can be for a crucial championship game? We would all have done the same in their shoes.

And it’s not just about Blackrock, St Vincent’s and Seandún. There are other clubs involved and the semi-final and final dates are known for a number of weeks now.

The camogie board, to their credit, have changed at least 15 championship matches this season to facilitate clubs due to divisions and dual players as ladies’ football is played on Sundays only. This also comes at a cost with outsourced pitches and lights having to be paid for.

The board need to complete the adult section so as to also give the minors their time, which is held up because of adult participation. There is also a plethora of juvenile championship finals already slotted in until the end of October in Castle Road, where the board are also using the Colleges Pitch for the finals, of which there are 40+. It’s a logistical nightmare at the moment. One game change has already had a knock-on effect on seven games.

With a county the size of Cork, the match situation is just rampant (thankfully) with the juvenile leagues now not finishing until mid to late November.

The county board is small, and the workload is immense. Works are already in motion for audio/floats etc for the county senior final so it’s not easy to casually push it out a week.

With a condensed season, convention around the corner, to new intercounty management appointments, there’s a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it in.

 Méabh Cahalane, St Finbarr's, can't stop the breaking Niamh Dilworth, Inniscarra. Picture: Dan Linehan
Méabh Cahalane, St Finbarr's, can't stop the breaking Niamh Dilworth, Inniscarra. Picture: Dan Linehan

It’s St Finbarr’s v Inniscarra first up today. Don’t you just have to truly admire Inniscarra! Twelve seasons now this team has been producing. Last year they looked tired. When they lost their county title to Courcey Rovers we all felt that we wouldn’t see them in the serious end of business for a while, yet here they are again, in a semi-final even without the services of Rena Buckley.

And who would bet against them doing what they need to do to reach their fifth final in a row.

Off the top of my head, Rosie O’Mahony, Aoife Kavanagh, Katie O’Mahony and Niamh Dilworth are four remaining warriors that I can see, since their first title.

What service they have given. With so many games spread across various venues I actually haven’t yet seen Inniscarra in action this season and I’m looking forward to the game today. Will they overturn their 2-11 to 1-6 opening defeat to the Barrs?

They’ll go in as underdogs but sure haven’t they done that all season.

Oh Killeagh, here we are again. Another crucial knockout where they failed to ignite and get a return up front. 1-1 from play.

As mentioned last week, Hannah Looney was too hard to replace. A very disappointing end to the season for them.

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