Linda Mellerick on camogie: Cork set the early pace as Kilkenny struggle to get going

Great rivals collide at Nowlan Park in the next round of the league
Linda Mellerick on camogie: Cork set the early pace as Kilkenny struggle to get going

Cork's Meabh Murphy celebrates her team scoring a point against Tipp. Picture: INPHO/Ben Brady

CORK sit on top of Division 1A of the Very Camogie League after their third-round victory over Tipperary last Saturday. 

A tough, physical encounter was just what the doctor ordered . The tight pitch in The Ragg suits Tipp. Their work rate and strength which was impressive is easier to enforce in such surroundings. 

I wonder would the game have had a similar outcome of 1-14 to 1-12 if the game had been in Semple Stadium. Maybe Cork’s speed would have been better utilised and maybe Tipp would have been better able to express themselves too. Who knows. 

This sweeper system that every team operates when up against Cork’s experienced defence always baffles me. 

There wasn’t a puff of wind in The Ragg so why not go 15 on 15 and see how the first quarter played out before operating that system from the throw-in. If a team is pulling back a forward, then they must ensure they bypass the defender they have left behind. 

To leave Player of the Match Laura Treacy free, who can read a game so well, doesn’t make sense to me, particularly in such a tight pitch at this time of the year where the ground is heavy. Laura comfortably covered right to left to pick up breaking ball. Tipp put four goals past Galway a fortnight ago. I wonder did they operate a sweeper that day.

Tipperary's Caoimhe Maher tackles Laura Tracey of Cork. Picture: INPHO/Ben Brady
Tipperary's Caoimhe Maher tackles Laura Tracey of Cork. Picture: INPHO/Ben Brady

There is a two-week break after three games in a row and next up for Cork is a trip to UPMC Nowlan Park to take on Kilkenny, their first meeting since last year’s All-Ireland final. Kilkenny chiselled out a 0-17 to 0-11 victory over Dublin at Parnell Park on Saturday. That was a first success of this campaign for Brian Dowling’s crew, who had struggled to get away from the Dubs. 

Kilkenny’s start to the season has been poor. 

A shock opening defeat to Clare followed by a four-point defeat to Galway in Nowlan Park before taking the points against Dublin. 

Galway haven’t started so brightly either, losing to Tipp in round one by three goals before bouncing back with that win over Kilkenny and then Clare last weekend. They have an even bigger concern at the minute with 2022 Player of the Year Miriam Walsh waiting the results of a scan on a suspected cruciate. 


The cruciate curse has reached epidemic proportions in camogie and in women’s team sports generally. Tipps Sarah Devane and Erena Fryday (twice) both went through it. Our own Ashling Thompson, Katie O’Mahony and Olivia McAllen are currently out with it. Galway have Ciara Donohue, Orlaith McGrath and Rebecca Hennelly side-lined. For McGrath, it’s a second time, for Hennelly a third.   

Kilkenny won last year’s All-Ireland without the Doyle sisters. Kellyann was another to go down a third time with the cruciate, Aoife being felled not long after.  And on and on it goes. Studies are being carried out and there is information linking the issue with physiology: different pelvic width, the smaller size of women’s ACLs, core strength and possibly even menstrual cycles. We are still learning.

Clare were brought crashing back to earth by Cork after claiming Kilkenny’s scalp. Their 1-14 to 0-13 defeat by Galway shows they are being consistently competitive, the Cork game aside.  Similar to last year, Clare gave some strong league performances, but will it all come crashing down come championship?

The Munster camogie championship will be run off on a round-robin basis for the first time. There will be six double headers during the GAA/Camogie/LGFA Munster campaigns. Five in camogie, one in football. 

On April 30, Cork and Waterford will feature in the Munster camogie and hurling championships in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. May 6 will see the winners of Cork and Waterford play Tipperary ahead of the Munster hurling championship game in also in the Páirc. The Munster camogie final will be a curtain raiser to the hurling championship game between Waterford and Clare in Semple Stadium on May 13. 

Sunday, May 21 at Cusack Park will host the Munster Intermediate Camogie final between Clare or Kerry and Cork ahead of the Clare-Cork hurling game.

The Munster championship is due to commence during the league campaign. Cork will have one outing against Limerick. The league final is set for the weekend of April 15 and a possible replay on April 22 then it’s back to the Munster campaign. The All-Ireland series commences June 3.

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