CORK City’s Ciara McNamara has described the decision to switch the venue of the Women’s FAI Cup final from the Aviva Stadium to the Tallaght Stadium as “disheartening”.
The defender kept a clean sheet and helped the club secure the trophy for the first time in its history back in 2017 following a narrow win against UCD Waves at the home of Irish football.
She also captained the side on the day and therefore had the opportunity to lift the trophy on behalf of her teammates before they celebrated in front of the many City fans in attendance.
It is understood that the FAI now prefer the final to be held on its own day and in a ground with a smaller capacity that will give them a better chance of selling out.
This year’s showpiece occasion for female footballers in Ireland is set to be played on December 13, the same day as the All-Ireland senior hurling final.
Speaking to the Echo, McNamara insisted she is frustrated that an official reason hasn’t been given to the players while she believes all players in the league still want to play at the Aviva.
“It was very disappointing to hear,” she admitted.
“The Aviva… it just makes reaching the final that bit more special. Whether you win or lose I still think even just saying that you played in that stadium stays with you.
“I don’t understand why it was moved, we haven’t heard as to why exactly they chose to move it.
“I have seen things on social media about the lack of crowds and how there’s no atmosphere but if you ask any player in the Women’s National League, I am 100% certain that they would all say they want to play in the Aviva for the final.
“It’s frustrating and it’s disheartening. When you see that the men are still going to play there, when you see that in other sports like GAA, women’s football and camogie finals are being played at Croke Park.
“At least if they gave us a reason why they changed it there wouldn’t be as much frustration but we were just told it wouldn’t be there, that’s the annoying part.
“Playing at the Aviva is what you dream about as a child. It’s the national stadium, even just walking off the bus there, going into the dressing rooms and then out onto the pitch is special.
“Walking up those steps to get the cup, it didn’t matter if there were five, 500 or 5,000 people there, it didn’t matter to us it. It was just looking out at the Aviva and thinking this is it, this is the pinnacle of Irish football.
“I know the women’s international team play it Tallaght but it won't be the same, it’s not the Aviva.”