Cork's dual GAA players battle to get equal status

Cork's dual GAA players battle to get equal status

Former Cork goalkeeper Aoife Murray clears her lines depite the attempt to block from Kerrie Finnegan of Dublin. Picture: Moya Nolan.

THERE has always been discussions around travel expenses for ladies footballers, and the fact they don't get them.

Unlike their male counterparts, who in general are compensated for travelling to training, this has not been the way for both ladies footballers and camogie players, with a few exceptions.

There has been mixed feelings on this but a recent tweet from Cork player Orlagh Farmer sets it out in plain language. It said 4,560 miles per year to training; 50,160 miles travelled since 2010; €25,080 (at 50 cent a mile) out of my own pocket to represent my county since 2010 and that's only a 40 mile trip to training. It's time to level the field.

There are plenty of other examples with players travelling from all over Cork, from Beara to Youghal to represent their county and have done so and will continue to do so.

But it became a bigger issue this year as with Covid-19 restrictions they all had to travel individually to training and thus the car pooling to help with costs wasn't allowed.

Dublin football captain, Sinead Aherne, was another to speak out on this issue as well recently and said it was time that something was done about it. She said: “Something as small as an additional €10,000 to each of the inter-county panels would be transformative.”

On the camogie side, former Cork captain, was another who spoke out and said that training for Cork has cost her in the region of €50,000 as he regularly travelled from Dublin to Cork for training.

But there was some good news and a step in the right direction in the last few days as the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) confirmed it will pay travel expenses to players for match days for the 2020 All-Ireland championship.

This decision to reimburse players for matchday travel costs is a first step towards correcting the stark reality that 93% of female inter-county players do not receive any form of travel expenses.

WGPA executive member Gemma Begley said: “It is actually scary to contemplate how much players are having to spend to sustain their inter-county careers.”

The WGPA report launched last week, Levelling The Field, found that 77% of female inter-county players pay towards their own physio services; 69% of players pay towards their own gym fees; 55% pay for their own medical treatments; and more than three-in-five do not receive any compensation for taking part in marketing and promotional activity linked to their sport.

The report also highlighted female inter-county players invest the same amount of time in training as their male counterparts and yet male inter-county players receive more than four times greater funding from government (€3m v €700,000).

The WGPA has committed to ramping up its lobbying of government for increased funding through the grants scheme. A formal partnership between the WGPA and GPA is also being finalised which may open the door to increased financial support for female players, even if there was no change to the level of funding coming from the government.

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