Kennedy lines out as public relations officer for Cork GAA
Secondary school teacher becomes Cork GAA’s first female public relations officer
Tracey Kennedy at Pobalscoil na Tríonóide in Youghal, Co Cork. “There is really only me and our sponsor liaison officer [in Cork GAA] who are female. We don’t have a huge representation with our senior teams.” Photograph: Provision
As well as holding down a full-time job as a secondary school teacher, Tracey Kennedy is Cork GAA’s first female public relations officer.
It’s a role which is demanding in any given year, but especially so given Cork’s run to the All-Ireland senior hurling final.
Her day begins at 6.30am when she checks her emails and messages, and helps assist with media and other queries.
Throughout the day during her school breaks she will try to keep up to date with the workload.
“It feels like a full-time role,” she says. “I put most of my spare time into it. As well as the normal PR stuff, I’m also responsible for the website, all social media, organising press days and helping to run county leagues.”
Having grown up in a strong GAA household, Kennedy says she loves the fact that her voluntary role allows her unique access to the team and the GAA scene in Cork.
She is one of the few females involved with the Cork senior set-up, and this gender imbalance is not something that is replicated at underage level.
“There is really only me and our sponsor liaison officer who are female. We don’t have a huge representation with our senior teams. At county board level I was the first female officer elected. It is interesting because if you go down to club level there are a huge amount of women involved and every club has female officers. But I can’t say I have ever run into any obstacles because of my gender.”
Kennedy describes the last two weeks as “the busiest of [her] life” and once the final public training session is finished tonight she will join up with the team on Saturday evening.
During the match on Sunday Kennedy will sit in the substitutes’ area as she needs to be close by to help organise pre-and post-match interviews.
“When the game is on I stay with the team as it is easier to access them,” she says. “It is a great privilege to be so close to the action and a different atmosphere from the middle of the stand. There is a bit of increased tension on the sidelines. You can’t help but feel it.”
So, will Cork win on Sunday? What’s her gut feeling?
“I can’t give you a direct answer to that in case you print it. We hope they will. If they do it will be busy after, but I am not thinking beyond Sunday and that final whistle.”