Ladies GFA boss Quill praises Liam O’Neill for setting final date in stone
GAA boss’s initiative protects profile of women’s football final day
Pat Quill, president of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association, and Pól O Gallchóir, Ceannsaí, TG4, with, from left, Cavan’s Roisin O’Keeffe, and respective team captains, Cavan’s Donna English, Tipperary’s Ann O’Dwyer, Cork’s Ciara O’Sullivan, Monaghan’s Therese McNally, Wexford’s Kellie Kearney and Offaly’s Siobhan Flannery at Croke Park ahead of Sunday’s three finals. Photograph: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile
Pat Quill, the president of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association, has revealed it was his GAA counterpart Liam O’Neill who suggested setting in stone the date of this year’s women’s football finals in Croke Park.
Last year, Kilkenny and Galway’s All-Ireland hurling final draw meant that the women’s finals were pushed back a week to accommodate a replay. But this year Cork and Clare’s second meeting will take place on a Saturday.
Quill, speaking at yesterday’s captains’ day in Croke Park, was pleased there was no need to change arrangements this time round.
“Last year, as soon as the hurling final ended in a draw, we knew that we had to move,” he said.
“Liam O’Neill contacted us within a fortnight of that game to talk about scheduling and he put it to Central Council, who passed it that a hurling final replay this year would take place on the Saturday.
“That makes a huge difference in terms of planning. We have All-Ireland Sevens as well and last year everything was disrupted, whereas this year we could plan ahead.”
With Cork competing in both the hurling replay and the TG4 senior women’s final on Sunday against Monaghan, there had been suggestions that those games should be played on the same bill. Quill, however, pointed out that that would have been unfair on intermediate finalists Tipperary and Cavan as well as Offaly and Wexford, who meet in the junior decider.
“It’s difficult,” he said, “because we have three games and we have to think of our junior and intermediate teams as well, playing in Croke Park means an awful lot to them.
“These are areas that can be looked at. There is nothing that can’t be overcome in the right way.”
With GAA president Liam O’Neill keen to bring women’s football and camogie under the one umbrella with the GAA, good relations between the bodies is key and Quill is confident that this will continue.
“There is great co-operation between the GAA, ourselves and camogie as it is,” he said.
“If we were all starting out today, it would be obvious that we would all be the one association. It’s a process that has to be gone through, it’s certainly a positive development, but all three associations will have to consult with their members.
“As long as our sport is treated on an equal basis, and developed and supported on an equal basis, I don’t see any great problem.”