Sport Hurling

Friday 29 August 2014

Ladies sticking with skirts as O'Flynn backs rules makeover

Cliona Foley

Published 30/03/2012 | 05:00

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Joan O'Flynn. Photo: Sportsfile

THEY are sticking with their skirts for the moment, but the game is set to make some radical changes at Congress this weekend, including awarding two points for a sideline cut.

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Hurling briefly experimented with a similar incentive before ditching it, but rewarding 'cuts' with double points is chief among the rules changes being put forward.

"It is a jaw-dropping skill that stops people in their tracks and is unique to our games," outgoing president Joan O'Flynn said.

"Sideline cuts are not as pervasive in our game, but this is designed to encourage them and also to encourage defenders to be more clever and skilful," she added.

Camogie, which already has an advantage rule, is now proposing another change -- increasing the amount of usable subs from five to eight, although only in the league.

"Most inter-county panels carry 30 players now and use the league to give them experience, so this recognises that," O'Flynn said.

The Association looked at a proposal to allow players wear shorts for the first time, but that has been shelved for the moment because their internal review received a 60/40 vote in favour of retaining skirts, or 'skorts' as their hybrid outfits are described.

The rule book will also include new classifications of fouls designed to end frustration among players who feel that not enough physicality is allowed at the game's top end.

"No one wants to see hugely aggressive contact in camogie, but incidental contact is okay," O'Flynn said.

"There should be more clarity on that now because we have classified fouls as 'technical' or 'aggressive'."

The departing president, who is being replaced by former Dublin player Aileen Lawlor (nee Redmond), said that unemployment and emigration have impacted on the women's game.

"Like everything else, it is affecting clubs worst, but I have heard of one or two inter-county players who are considering emigration," she revealed.

O'Flynn said funding and resources remain "a challenge," but her three-year term has coincided with getting the All- Ireland club finals played at Croke Park as well as the emergence of over 40 new clubs since 2010.

And O'Flynn was particularly chuffed to oversee the official opening of Cork's new stand-alone centre in Blackrock last weekend.

"Ten years ago, only one county had its own ground (The Ragg in Tipperary), but now there are 10 independently owned facilities," she said.

O'Flynn could certainly never be accused of being removed from her constituency. The Cork native wrote a regular blog during her term and only last weekend, returned to the sideline as a senior selector with her club Celbridge.

Irish Independent

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