Ladies game deserves credit – Jarlath
SUNDAY sees the Ladies’ All-Ireland football finals in Croke Park. The dates have been pushed back a week to allow for the hurling replay and of course this started a row. We would be nothing in the GAA if it wasn’t for the rows.
You will notice the ladies leadership didn’t get embroiled in it because they had no need to. At the beginning of the year the masters fixture schedule is laid out and the ladies’ GAA knew and know well that they have their date in the knowledge that a hurling replay is also down for that Sunday should the need arise.
But since one of these hasn’t happened since 1951, it was better take the chance. And we mightn’t have a hurling replay again for another sixty years, so it is worth taking the chance again for the next half a century.
One thing is for sure. There won’t be 82000 at this event. We will be lucky if we see 20,000 which is still a fairly sizeable attendance for any match, but well short of the sort of numbers who go to watch the men.
And this is sort of disappointing. The ladies do the same work for far less reward, recognition or credit as do the male footballers. In many ways, they are the true amateur heroes of the GAA in the modern era.
No travelling expenses, holidays, weekends away, they don’t have the same facilities as the men and have to beg for training pitches from the clubs. It’s a hand to mouth existence and at times you wonder how they keep it going.
Ladies football bucks many trends of women’s sports. Normally there are justifiable grounds of complaint about how little air time the females get in comparison to the men, but TG4 have ensured that this is not the case. Not only do they cover the ladies’ game, they also sponsor it and this relationship is one of the strongest corporate partnerships in sport.
It’s a good place for TG4 to be, since they get their logo on the jerseys and get the name out and about and of course, the pay off for the girls is fantastic; coverage, profile and exposure.
The modern cohort of female Gaelic athletes are the ‘born into GAA’ generation, in the sense that they do not remember a time when there was no games for women, so their expectations are higher. At club level too, they also demand the same privileges and access to the field for training and matches as the men.
And why wouldn’t they?
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published on Thursday September 27. Buy your copy now in your local newsagent, or you can purchase the online version – for only 90p – by clicking here