‘It’s mad to think that handball has a greater right to play in Croke Park than I do’

THE LGFA AND Camogie Association are fully independent bodies, separate from the GAA but is it time for them to be welcomed into the fold?

That’s one of the questions Dara Ó Cinnéide asks on tonight’s episode of GAA Eile. Ladies football and camogie are under the microscope in this, the third episode of the four-part RTÉ series.

Cork goalkeeper Aoife Murray speaking on GAA Eile.

Source: RTÉ.

Attendances, support, players’ commitment and sacrifice are all looked at in greater detail with visits paid to the Mayo and Donegal football camps as well as to back-to-back All-Ireland camogie champions Cork — and there are plenty of voices heard throughout.

A fair chunk of time is spent in Peter Leahy’s Green and Red set-up where a controversial player walkout occurred last summer, and that’s discussed in greater detail with those at the centre of it.

One thing that’s really delved into is the fact that the LGFA and Camogie Association remain separate organisations and don’t fall under the GAA banner. Hurling, men’s Gaelic football, handball and rounders do.

“I’m not a member of the GAA,” 2018 Cork captain and goalkeeper Aoife Muray tells Ó Kerry legend Cinnéide.

“It’s mad to think that handball has a greater right to play in Croke Park than I have a right to play in Croke Park.


“I remember being moved off a pitch because U12 boys wanted to train, and we couldn’t play a camogie match. We couldn’t be annoyed about it because it’s not our grounds.

“They say GAA is the grassroots of who we are as a nation. We’ve done so much in this country for equality over the past number of years. To think that we are still treating men and women differently in our own national sport and our own national heritage…

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“It’s actually mad when you say it out loud. Maybe the more people that say it out loud, the more ridiculous it might sound and we might actually push on and do something about it.”
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“It’s odd, and it is because of the way things have evolved,” GAA director general Tom Ryan offers, as Ó Cinnéide explores the history of the organisations.

“I think that it probably is in all of our mutual interests that the three organisations are far more closely aligned, if not combined. Personally speaking, I’d like to see that happen.”

A good chunk of time is spent in Peter Leahy’s Mayo camp tonight.

Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

LGFA president Marie Hickey and Camogie Association head Kathleen Woods both explain how a memorandum of agreement with the GAA has been signed, which is looking at different ways the associations could come under the one umbrella.

“If we were to start our games today, we all would be the one,” Woods adds.

“We’re moving there, we’re moving nicely, slowly and carefully because we probably only have one chance at this. To rush into it would be wrong.”

Win or lose, effort and endeavour should always be agknowledged. We’re all in this together, the episode concludes.

GAA Eile continues tonight at 8.30pm on RTÉ One.

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