Waterford break ground but problem persists in women’s game

Frustration remains north of the border where Sport NI won’t recognise the code

Waterford player Aoife Murray with members of the Field Development Committee Michael Ryan, Crohan McGregor and Edel Curry with John Frewen, Chairperson of Waterford Ladies Gaelic Football Association, at the new ground. Photo: Patrick Browne/Waterford GAA

Waterford player Aoife Murray with members of the Field Development Committee Michael Ryan, Crohan McGregor and Edel Curry with John Frewen, Chairperson of Waterford Ladies Gaelic Football Association, at the new ground. Photo: Patrick Browne/Waterford GAA

 

News of the acquisition of a dedicated venue for Waterford’s women footballers is further recognition of the need for additional facilities within the game.

Situated at Ballinroad, just outside Dungarvan and beside the Waterford Greenway, the property is to be developed into a home for football in the county.

In Armagh, the county’s footballers are in the process of developing a facility of their own as well – McKeever Park in Killean. Already a pitch has been laid and there are ambitious plans to turn the venue into a centre of excellence and home for the county football teams as well as clubs.

Armagh chair Sinéad Reel acknowledged the assistance of Silverbridge GAA club in providing its amenities in recent years for the women footballers but regretted the continuing refusal of Sport NI to recognise the game.

“The biggest stumbling block is financial and we have to raise all of our funds because, whereas Sport Ireland are supportive of our game, Sport NI do not recognise it.

“We’ve been knocking on that door for a couple years looking for help so basically everything we’ve done has been fund raised and supported by sponsors.

“Ulster Council (of the GAA) went down that road about 10 years ago to try to secure recognition because football, hurling and camogie all have it but they were turned down even after it went to arbitration. I’m baffled as to why the fastest growing sport in the country is treated like this and I’m really hoping that it changes.”

Memorable battle

The stance is all the more surprising given the status of counties in the province within the game. Just last November Armagh had a memorable battle with eventual four-in-a-row winners Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final and went on to win the Ulster title.

The property is held on a long-term lease with an option to buy and was formerly used by GAA club St Michael’s. Acquired just over a year ago, it has seen £120,000 invested in it already.

“The pitch has been used for the county team to prepare,” according to Reel. “The long-term plan is that in three or four years we will have brand new, state-of-the-art dressingrooms and facilities.”

Waterford fundraised to acquire their property and will be able to develop it with the proceeds of the sale of nearby land, which will be split 70-30 between the county and the Kilgobinet club.

The development land was gifted to the county’s women footballers and the club by a benefactor. Known locally as the Duckspool site, the land’s owner has made them the beneficiaries of its sale when it secures planning permission.

Work on the field is expected to commence by the summer. A pitch with a spectator stand, changing rooms, coach and car park and a full six-lane running track around the perimeter of the pitch are planned.

The facilities will be available for use to all county and club teams across all grades.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.