Supporting our sports heroines

 

Sir, – I cannot describe the sadness and disappointment I felt when I read Jeannette Feighery’s letter (February 15th) describing the series of events which occurred during the Irish Women’s journey to play France.

Any sportsperson, playing at any level,would agree that the lack of support and the inadequate preparation seen here could have only a negative effect on the physical and mental readiness of a player.

I myself would find it impossible to play (at second division level!) if a similar set of circumstances had befallen me.

I had thought that this kind of disregard for women’s sport was in the past.

The fact that this team lost by a single point, despite the obvious dearth of support, shows how extremely talented and dedicated they are.

These girls devote the entirety of their free time (limited by full-time jobs and the personal commitments we all have) to maintaining the required level of fitness and to training with their clubs and provinces.

They are an inspiration to all of us.

Women in sport face many obstacles, between competing for pitches and other facilities with men’s teams and working hard to keep teams going despite a lack of financial support.

I have seen huge work being done in my own community by all codes to provide sport for young women.

These girls need to have the opportunity to go to the highest levels in their chosen sports.

I am sure I am not the only woman who felt that these girls deserved better.

As a teacher in an all-girls primary school and a rugby player myself, I see first-hand the need for female role models who can inspire young girls to lead a healthy lifestyle and to contribute to the proud sporting tradition of our country.

Would it not make sense for girls like those who travelled to France to be fully supported and celebrated so that future potential sports heroines could be created? – Yours, etc,

EITHNE DARCY,

Ciamaltha Road,

Nenagh, Co Tipperary.