"They can do a bit of contact but not what the men do"
The 2020 National League will be a fresh start for camogie.
It will be a new one for camogie players all over.
After what seems like years of debate, pleas and advice, the long-awaited and eagerly anticipated camogie rule changes are finally on the way.
The is have been dotted and the ts have been crossed. National League 2020 is D-day.
In fairness to the Camogie association, their 'Feedback forum' and 'Rules Revision Working Group' have heeded the general consensus. They've listened to their players and they've come up with a set of changes that will improve the game's flow, benefiting both spectators and players.
Banishing the hand-pass goal and getting rid of dropping the hurley was seen as a priority. Gone are those days. The persistent fouling tick makes sense. The quick puck-out and free from the hand (inside their own 45 line) will speed up the game.
But unfortunately, the most pressing change of all seems to have been only half-heeded by the proposals. The non-contact rule. The forbidding of shoulder tackles.
That was an out-dated rule that has been surpassed by the game's increasing physicality. Now was the time to bring it in line with the rule implemented in hurling.
Here is the rule regarding shoulders in hurling.
Provided that he has at least one foot on the ground, a player may make a shoulder to shoulder charge on an opponent-
(a) who is in possession of the ball, or
(b) who is playing the ball, or
(c) when both players are moving in the same direction.
This is the updated camogie rule.
"A player may now use minimal contact on an opponent’s body from side-on, once they are making a reasonable effort to gain possession of the ball."
On The GAA Hour, both Colm Parkinson and Conan Doherty feel the word 'minimal' creates a grey area that will cause problems.
"The contact one doesn't go far enough for me," says Colm Parkinson.
"Now what's that all about. It's either contact or it's not. What is minimal contact? So can you bury someone with a shoulder or can't you? Like I don't get it, you're either going to do it or you're not. They're not shrinking violets, they're well able to be physical. Why put a wishy-washy contact one in there where they're not really sure what they're allowed to do?"
"This is the thing that female athletes hate most," added Conan Doherty. 'Because they're not able for it,' You know that's what it reads like on the face of it, it's a bit sexist like. Yeah, they can do a bit of contact but not what the men do, and it's terrible..."
"They grow up playing hurling and suddenly they're into a different sport, camogie players are crying out for hurling rules. They're not allowed to have contact, and now they're allowed minimal contact..."
You can listen to the most recent episode of The GAA Hour here.