Another week of action on the Camogie fields of Ireland has made for some interesting rounds in the Liberty Insurance Camogie Championship. Cork and Waterford were again to the fore at Intermediate level while Intermediate Connaught champions and beaten All Ireland Finalists, Galway were very strong against Wexford last weekend. Kilkenny’s clean run almost guarantees them a semi-final position. This is also the case for League Champions Cork, who have won both their games by a comprehensive 13 points. That won’t worry the others though, where defeats at this stage of the Championship, have not affected front runners like Galway or Wexford in previous years.
At this stage of the championship teams have found form, players have played some great camogie to get themselves onto the starting fifteen. The back seven will have formed an understanding, a point of no entry for the opposition, while midfielders will have many miles clocked up and will be gaining confidence in reading the game with efficiency. The forward combinations have had games to apply their quick thinking and teamwork whilst most importantly tallying up the scores. Although initial rounds were important, teams will be acutely aware of their position on the points board and what they need to do to secure a semi final place!
A second weekend of soaring heat is set to test players all over the country!! I sympathised with players last weekend who gave it their all in unaccustomed heat. Water bottles and towels were in abundance. It looks like similar conditions will present themselves this weekend so be prepared! Dehydration is one of the greatest causes for error in any sporting game, especially in the latter stages of the game. Some basics are: being slower to make a decision, lack of complete control over your actions and obviously, exhaustion. Recent studies have proved that losing between 2-5% of your body weight through dehydration leads to a decrease in capacity for work by approximately 30%. In this weather, 15 players suffering from dehydration can lead to a drastic decrease in your team’s work rate!
Players will also have picked up injuries in the past few games-all hazardous and draining to the individual and the team. This is when competent management and a strong panel come into play. It’s never easy to wear numbers 16-30 and I’ve had this experience through injury and through simply not being picked. Every management team will say that players 1 to 30 are important and without a strong panel, the team won’t make it through the championship. This is fact. If you look at any successful club or county team- it is rare that the starting 15 finish the game and win. Every team needs fresh legs and every substitute will add a new dynamic to the team. That said, it’s a hard pill to swallow when you feel you deserve to start and aren’t selected. But we must keep the bigger picture in mind. What is best for the team? That is certainly what a management team are focused on even though it may not feel like that all the time. Good management plus a united team with one goal makes a very strong force!!
This is an important weekend for many teams as it is do or die time on the field of play. This makes it all the better for the spectator. Clare, Wexford, Waterford and Kilkenny Camogie Teams could do with some extra support from hurling and camogie followers, who make their way to Thurles. A picnic basket, sunshine and good hurling could make anyone’s day. Don’t forget the 99’ on the way home!
Follow Claire O'Connor, former All Ireland winner and All Star with Wexford each Saturday in our championship diary and on twitter at @clairnichon