A WGPA survey has shown that 82% of inter-county camogie players are in favour of trialling new rules to bring the game more in line with how hurling is officiated.
Ahead of Saturday’s Camogie Association ‘feedback forum’, this Women’s Gaelic Players Association survey will have left the game’s top officials in no doubt as to the strong desire among players for a sweeping overhaul of the camogie rulebook.
At Congress earlier this year, a motion was passed to allow for the trialling of new rules. At present, the camogie rulebook outlaws shouldering and 'moving into an opponent’s body', effectively rendering the game a non-contact sport.
Last September’s All-Ireland camogie final between Cork and Kilkenny made for pretty turgid viewing, the game blighted by 36 frees and containing only nine scores from play. Similarly unappealing was the Galway-Kilkenny semi-final, a fixture which also had a freecount in the thirties and produced a meagre seven scores from play.
Of those surveyed, 70% want changed the rules relating to physical contact. Almost half are in favour of swapping skorts for shorts, while 30% would like to see an end to the hand-passed goal.
The findings highlight a strong sense among players that camogie rules are not keeping pace with changes in the fitness of players and, equally, the technical skills of the game are not as visible as they could - and should - be.
Only 16% of players found the consistency of refereeing to be either good, very good, or excellent, with 60% citing as poor the officiating of their game.
Not content to continue bemoaning the current state of the game, the WGPA is proposing 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.
Camogie Association president Kathleen Woods, in an interview with the Irish Examiner last September, said their new four-year development plan would not be looking at rule changes.
WGPA chairperson Maria Kinsella said:
A proper objective analysis of the trends in the game and refereeing needs to be carried out because players currently don’t feel engaged through the current mechanism for changing rules.
Added Cork’s nine-time All-Ireland medal-winner Gemma O’Connor: “Players have been expressing frustration around rules and referees publicly for a long time and this now represents a collective call for change and an opportunity to improve the game. We as players, or the review group, don’t have all the answers but we are willing to support the process of finding them.”
Elsewhere, the majority of players (95%) were in favour of double-headers with men’s games, with 96% of players keen for integration with the GAA in terms of a strategic plan and matched investment for camogie.