The recently approved rule changes to camogie have “made the game progress so much better”, according to former Kilkenny intermediate captain and KCLR analyst Áine Fahey.
This season – now two games deep – saw the introduction of a number of rule changes passed at the last congress.
Among those changes is the allowance for ‘minimal contact’.
Under the rules of play (normal and extra time), section 9.7 (f) describes “Using minimal contact on an opponent’s body from side-on, once they are making a reasonable effort to gain possession of the sliotar. Minimal contact is described as contact made while making a reasonable attempt to gain possession of the sliotar. Contact must not be made in an aggressive or cynical manner.”
Coupled with rule changes around quick puck outs and other changes, it should bring more pace into the game, that and being able to demonstrate player toughness.
When quizzed on the impact of the rule changes, in particular the contact element, Fahey says players want to get stuck in.
“This whole stigma of maybe other girls, you know, they don’t want to get hurt or we have to mind them. I think that’s kind of all gone from camogie” she says.
“Any of us who have been playing camogie, we just want to get thrown in there. We want to get stuck in at the deep end. We want to show our toughness, we want to show our resilience.”
“These guys don’t train three or four nights a week to be mollycoddled basically and wrapped up in cotton wool. They want to go out there. This is why I think the rule changes have made the game progress so much better.”
“It’s allowed girls to really get stuck in there, get into the muck and dirt and just horse it out of it.”
With the rules trialled last year in the run into the closing stages of the All-Ireland campaign, Kilkenny’s boost in physicality has become evident and is being aided by the backroom team.
“When you see the likes of Pat O’Neill (part of Brian Dowling’s backroom setup), back in his day and let’s be honest, [Pat] wasn’t the cleanest of players. But I think the rule changes, Pat being brought on board in both the senior and the intermediate setup, it’s going to bring out that little bit of grit, that bit of rawness that they do need.”
The changes introduced for the 2021 season include
- A goal can no longer be scored from a hand-pass. A point may still be scored in this manner.
- The intentional dropping of the hurl will result in a foul.
- Players taking a free cannot cross the 20m line to strike the ball.
- Minimal contact is allowed (outlined above).
- Penalties are now one-on-one.
- A goalkeeper may take a fast puck out.
- Short socks may be worn, though must be uniform across the team.
Back at it this weekend
Kilkenny’s senior side began their league campaign with a gritty win over Dublin on 15 May while the intermediates, who Fahey captained to All-Ireland glory in 2016, picked up their first win of the campaign against Laois last weekend.
Brian Dowling’s senior side will play Offaly in Birr this Saturday afternoon.
You can catch that game live on air and online from 2pm with Martin Quilty and Áine Fahey on duty for Scoreline and KCLR.