Ladies football scheduling mistake? – Monday Blog
By Niall McCoy
THERE was a sonic boom recorded in Ireland yesterday about four of five minutes after the All-Ireland hurling final between Kilkenny and Galway ended in a draw.
The boom wasn’t caused by an aeroplane travelling through the air faster than the speed of sound, instead it was caused by a platoon of ladies footballers taking to Twitter to vent their fury in 140 characters.
No, it wasn’t the awarding of Joe Canning’s last free that caused the outrage, it was Ger Canning’s announcement that the replay would take place on Sunday, September 30th.
Now, that date had already been circled in the calendar by six ladies’ county squads. It’s All-Ireland final day, and with the exception of Waterford and Cork who qualified for their respective finals on Saturday, the other four counties – Antrim, Armagh, Louth and Kerry – had already a week of preparation done. The ladies would have to wait a week longer to accommodate the men.
I haven’t chatted to any managers yet, but that, I’m sure, would also include the booking of hotels for that weekend, renting coaches. One player tweeted saying she had already booked off that week from work and would face a hassle to change.
Their frustrations were evident, and it was hard not to feel aggrieved.
But then again, it was a justified decision. The LGFA is a separate body to the GAA and Croke Park is used as a favour for the finals by the GAA. As the Gaelic Life’s expert ladies GAA correspondent Ciaran
Woods informed me yesterday, the ladies’ body have always known that a draw would mean the re-scheduling of their ties to make way for the hurling.
In black and white it was the correct call, and there can be little arguing of that, but still…
For while the GAA and the LGFA may be separate in name, there can be no questioning that in parishes the length and breadth of the country, the ladies game plays a vital role in your average GAA club. In these six counties, the girls play their club football, in the majority, under the same banner as the men’s games at their clubs. They are not separate entities.
Even playing the ladies games on September 29th would have been a compromise more easily accepted. Look at the Croke Park pitch yesterday, it was in pristine condition, and I’m sure it could cope with five games in two days seeing as there has often been triple headers at the stadium.
It’s a hard one to work out. The GAA haven’t done anything wrong, but it’s still a body blow for the ladies and the promotion of their games.
Whether this happens or not lies with the LGFA now. Replays are a rare beats, but there’s nothing to say that the next 10 finals will not end all square. They either fight their cause at the end of the season to ensure that agreement does not stay in place, and if they can’t achieve this, then maybe it’s time to look at alternative venues for their showpiece event.