PAUDIE Murray believes that camogie should adopt hurling rules.
The Cork manager also feels that some referees who officiate camogie games don’t know the difference between hurling and camogie.
A number of high-profile camogie players have hit the headlines in recent months calling for the game’s outdated rules to be updated. Murray agrees that the rulebook needs urgent attention and he wants to see two rule changes made before the start of this summer’s All-Ireland championship.
‘Eventually I think we should be going to hurling rules, simply because the audience that the Camogie Association are trying to attract are hurling people,’ Murray says.
‘When they tune in they apply hurling rules automatically to the game and that’s why sometimes they are scratching their heads over some decisions – and because they don’t know the rules they could be giving out about a referee even if he is doing his job perfectly.’
But Murray also feels that there is a problem with the consistency of refereeing in camogie. That’s an opinion echoed in a recent Women’s Gaelic Players Association (WGPA) survey. Sixty per cent of inter-county camogie players surveyed felt that the consistency of refereeing is poor.
‘A big problem is the consistency of refereeing. Some referees don’t actually know the difference between hurling and camogie,’ Murray says.
He highlights his frustration with a recent example from Cork’s Munster championship win against Clare.
‘The referee wanted all players outside the 20-metre line for a puck-out, even though the camogie rules state that it’s only the opposition that have to go outside the 20-metre line. That’s how poor things are,’ Murray says.
‘We have our own plans for puck-outs and that worked against our plans. We plan within the rules that are there but then you go out and play but the referee won’t allow you do what you had planned – and which is within the rules – because he doesn’t know the rules.’
The All-Ireland winning Cork boss has also called on the powers-that-be to implement rule changes before the championship throws in next month. The WGPA survey found that 82 per cent of inter-county camogie players are in favour of trialling new rules in league competitions. Murray wants to fast forward the process.
‘I hope that they look at the contact and the advantage rules before the start of this year’s championship. I can’t see why not,’ he says.
‘I think it’s essential that we do it. This year’s championship will be exciting. Galway are the front-runners, then there is Kilkenny in second and I’d have Cork in third at the moment; that’s going on what we saw in the league. Then you have Limerick, Tipperary, Dublin, Waterford, and they’ll all be in the shake-up.
‘It could be a very exiting championship if things are left flow. But what you don’t want is to pick up the newspaper on the Monday morning after a championship game and see that 70 to 80 per cent of scores came from frees. No one wants that.
‘Camogie could be a wonderful product if we make it free flowing.’
To improve the game Murray feels that two rules could be changed straightaway and have a positive effect on the game.
Not surprisingly he – like a vast majority of camogie players – wants to see a change to the rules relating to physical contact, which are slowing the game down and turning matches into shoot-outs between free-takers.
‘The rules around contact are an issue, especially the frontal challenge and the shoulder. They need to be looked at fairly quickly,’ Murray insists.
‘All the up-to-date data we have will tell you that frees have increased in the game – and that’s not a good thing. If you analysed the frees, they’re not down to pulling and dragging. In the main it’s because players have got fitter and physically stronger. Girls are covering ground now quicker than they were six years ago.’
Murray is also adamant that the advantage rule should be changed immediately.
‘We need to let advantage develop until the play breaks down rather than having a five-second rule that we use at the moment,’ he points out.
‘What we want to see is that instead of the five-second rule that the advantage keeps going until the play breaks down or there is an actual advantage.’
The Cork boss attended the recent Feedback Forum – organised by camogies bosses and held in Dublin at the end of April – and he hopes that the voices of managers and players will be listened to.
‘There are areas to improve on straightaway that can make the game flow that bit quicker: That’s what we all want: a better and more enjoyable game.’