70% Were In Agreement That Rule Changes Were Very Much Needed, Particularly In Relation To The Physical Contact Rule
Camogie players from around the country have had their say and according to the results of a recent survey carried out by the Women’s Gaelic Players Association are calling for changes to the playing rules particularly the rule that deals with physical contact.
Of the 243 inter-county players who responded to the survey, 70% were in agreement that the rules on physical contact ‘very much’ need to change.
There have been huge strides in player development in terms of conditioning and technical skills, but there is a strong sense among those who were surveyed that the game of Camogie is not keeping up with those developments.
2018 was deemed the summer of hurling as fans were treated to a high number of top quality and exciting games and those in attendance or watching on TV marveled at the skill levels and physicality of the championship fare on offer.
In comparison Camogie is basically under the current rules a non-contact sport. Shouldering and moving into an opponents body are against the rules, add in the fact that some over zealous refereeing in relation to contact, even minimal, is resulting in high free counts and leading to games having a stop/start nature with no flow to the play.
Last year’s senior camogie All Ireland Final between Cork and Kilkenny was a typical example of what is wrong with the rules, viewing wise it was a dreadful affair to watch, it was littered with 36 frees, only nine scores came from open play and certainly wasn’t a good advertisement for the sport and did nothing in terms of increasing attendances at games, increasing media coverage, attracting sponsors or encouraging girls to take up the sport.
Rules weren’t the only aspects of the game players were unhappy with and wanted to see change.
60% of those surveyed cited as poor the officiating of their games, 30% would like to see an end to the hand-passed goal, almost half would also like to swap the skort for shorts and 82% were in favour of trialling new rules to bring the game more in line with how hurling is officiated.
The results of the survey have left the top officials in the association in no doubt that players strongly desire a major overhaul of the camogie rulebook.
And the Camogie Association must act on the desires of the players for change not only to the physical contact rule but all of their concerns for the good of the sport.
The world of gaelic games though is slow to change and has at times to it’s own detriment refused to change and move forward all in the name of tradition.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to hold onto core traditions and no one wants the Camogie Association or any of the other codes to lose its core values or traditions, but the various sports including camogie have moved on in terms of player development and preparation as well as the pace the game is now played at compared to bygone year’s and if the rules are not serving the modern game then they need to be changed even if that means breaking with tradition.
Now maybe the wheels are already in motion, last Saturday the Camogie Association held a ‘feedback forum’, and earlier in the year at Congress a motion to allow for the trialling of new rules was passed.
But this can’t be just lip service and must be followed through with a proper plan in place to be effective, the WGPA has proposed the establishment of a player engagement group that might be integrated into the new Camogie development plan; commence a referee engagement process; and conduct a rules review.
Late last year while speaking about the new four year development plan Camogie Association president Kathleen Woods stated that the association wouldn’t be looking at rule changes.
Though with the results of the survey and discussions at last weekend’s feedback forum it would be hoped for the sake of the sport that rule changes are now on the table not just for discussion but for implementation.