Teenager Writes To Sports Minister: ‘It’s Time That We Are Treated Equally To Our Male Counterparts
Loreto Clonmel School: ’60 Minutes Is All That Is Needed. We Will Play Anytime, Any Place, Any Day’
Moate Community School senior women’s vice-captain, Emma Kelly, has shared her plea to the Ladies Football Gaelic Association (LGFA) to allow the Lidl Post Primary School All-Ireland Schools Senior ‘A’ football final to go ahead between Moate CS and Loreto secondary school Clonmel.
“When COVID-19 caused the cancellation of our Senior A PPS All Ireland final, we felt robbed by circumstance. Now, the country is beginning to open back up again and the LGFA still refuse to even try to play this game that is invaluable to two teams, their schools and family. We are now robbed by our own,” wrote Kelly.
In light of the Covid-19 outbreak, the LGFA made the decision to suspend all activity at club, inter-county and educational levels. On 24 March, the organisation released a statement acknowledging that the LGFA management committee have decided to cancel all competitions.
To grace the field alongside school mates, in an All-Ireland final at any level is an honour fortunate to be bestowed upon a select few of individuals. Memories to last a lifetime. Yet, heartbreak. Postponement changed to cancellation. All the dreams of lifting an All-Ireland title ripped away from young girls with big dreams.
“Any young Gaelic players dream is to win an All-Ireland title with their team. Their biggest nightmare is to lose an All-Ireland final. The idea of being denied the chance to even play the final is beyond horrifying to any young player, worsened by the fact it is being denied to us by our own support. We have been stripped of a game that we earned the right to play by an organisation that falsely claims to put its members first.”
“Usually it is someone or something else that lets girls in sport down; favouritism towards the men, the media coverage or just support from the public. Now, it’s our own sporting family.”
“Five girls on our team are in 6th year and have previously lost five Leinster finals without winning a single one. This year was our last chance to finally get what we deserved and to turn all those trainings sessions in winter weather, heartbreaks of defeats and every time we picked ourselves up from rock bottom, into glory. Now we don’t even get the chance to fight for it.”
Last week, the GAA correctly helped facilitate the re-scheduling of the Leinster Schools SF ‘A’ boy’s final between St Joseph’s Rochfortbridge and Naas CBS, which took place on July 17.
To re-organise a game in line with the health and safety guidelines issued by the Government and NPHET should be a no-brainer. Yet both Moate CS and Loreto secondary school Clonmel’s pleas have fallen on deaf ears. This stinks of inequality and hypocrisy.
“The Senior men schools Leinster final between St Joseph’s Rochfortbridge and Naas was played last week and as happy as we were to see a Westmeath school bring home the cup, it broke our hearts to think we don’t get the chance to try and bring glory back to our school and our county. Not even the chance to try. How can we strive for equality in sport if the men are given the chances by the GAA that the girls are denied? This sets equality back 10 years. We admire the GAA for granting their members the opportunity to show their talents and play that Leinster final that they earned after months of uncertainty,” Emma wrote.
Recently, teammate Shannon Mulvihill, wrote to the newly appointed Minister for Sport, Catherine Martin, to highlight her frustration and disappointment at the cancellation of the LGFA All-Ireland Schools Senior ‘A’ football final.
Now Kelly has once again reiterated that stance. Pleading to the LGFA to re-schedule the All-Ireland final.
“We are simply asking the LGFA to do the same for us. Both the LGFA and GAA have managed to organise a championship of 7 or so games for their senior inter-county teams. Yet the LGFA cannot find one day to play a Senior A All Ireland final that means so much to so many. There are 22 weeks left in 2020; that’s 3696 hours. The fact that we only need one of those hours to fulfil our dream of playing in an All-Ireland, yet the LGFA cannot even give us that, speaks volumes.
Both the Moate CS and Loreto Clonmel senior girls’ teams are being denied the chance to be seen. If she can’t see, she can’t be.”