Dublin players across both codes back move to unite GAA and LFGA

Niamh Collins and Aisling Maher lend their voices behind calls for the NGBs to unite

The effort to unite the GAA with the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) and the Camogie Association has been strongly backed by Dublin female players across both codes, footballer Niamh Collins saying "it would be the healthiest option" for all organisations to be under the one umbrella.

The move towards full integration strengthened considerably with the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) submitting a motion for consideration at Congress later this month.

It calls for “proactive, meaningful and swift action” to bring about full integration with the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) and the Camogie Association, recent research among the GPA membership showing that 97 per cent of all intercounty players backed integration between the three.

“We play on the same pitches, but we don’t own those pitches, and are at the behest of the GAA a lot of the time, particularly when it comes to the big pitches at intercounty,” says Collins. “At the end of the day, we’re all playing the one sport, we’re all the one family, I think it’s the direction we need to go, and I hope to see it happening in my (playing) lifetime.


“I think if we’re going to talk about equality, all being on one level playing field, then we need to be one organisation. How far we’ve come has shined a spotlight on that, and I think it’s time for all of us to come together.”

Dublin senior camogie player Aisling Maher gave her support for full integration too: "It's definitely something I'd like to see happen, I think we've seen it in the 'one club' model that a lot of the clubs have employed, on younger sections more so.

“I hope we will see it happen, I don’t know how soon, in fairness to the GPA they’ve done huge work in getting the conversation started.

The GPA outlined their case that “it is intercounty players’ firmly held belief that for equality to be achieved within the Gaelic games family, integration of the three National Governing Bodies (NGBs) must be made a priority. This can then, in turn, have a major positive impact on wider Irish society.”

The motion for Congress, taking place on Saturday, February 26th, also notes: “The GAA shall prioritise integration with the LGFA and Camogie Association in order to jointly ensure equal investment, recognition and opportunity for all genders to play all sports in the Gaelic Games family.

Early last year, the GPA merged with the Women’s Gaelic Football Association (WGPA), Sport Ireland also announcing last May that funding for women’s inter-county players would increase from increase €700,000 to €2.4m, and with that equalling the level of funding for the men’s inter-county game, which averages about €1,200 per player per year.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics