Monday 17 June 2019

Camogie must tackle changes to the rules to attract crowds

Several camogie stars have issued renewed calls for rule changes to enhance the flow of the game, in the hope of avoiding a repeat of last year’s All-Ireland final, where only a third of scores came from play. (stock image)
Several camogie stars have issued renewed calls for rule changes to enhance the flow of the game, in the hope of avoiding a repeat of last year’s All-Ireland final, where only a third of scores came from play. (stock image)

Cathal Dennehy

Several camogie stars have issued renewed calls for rule changes to enhance the flow of the game, in the hope of avoiding a repeat of last year's All-Ireland final, where only a third of scores came from play.

"We don't want to be part of a process of stop-starting," said Gemma O'Connor, a nine-time All-Ireland winner with Cork. "We want the talking point to be that camogie is a great sport, that it's fast, physical - that's what attracts viewers."

Earlier this year a working group recommended a review of rules, with changes expected to be trialled during the league in 2020. "It's definitely moving in the right direction and we just hope it'll move quicker," said O'Connor. "More than likely I won't be there to play in those rules but it's for the future, to make the game better."

Kilkenny's Grace Walsh believes the changes should reflect the development in physical conditioning of players. "Let the girls show the quality and pace the game can be played at, the way it's played in training," she said. "That'll get more people to come to the games."

In contrast to hurling, camogie is essentially a non-contact sport with shouldering currently against the rules, but Dublin's Aisling Maher is one of those who wants to see more physicality allowed.

"I'd like to see a change in the definition of the tackle," she said. "At the moment it's difficult for referees and it's difficult for players. Any kind of physical contact seems to be falling on the wrong side."

Cork will begin their defence of the O'Duffy Cup against Clare tomorrow week, while All-Ireland finalists Kilkenny take on league champions Galway. One game each week will be live streamed on the Facebook page of Liberty Insurance, while a second camogie All Stars tour will see two teams meet in New York this year.

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