CORK ladies football manager Ephie Fitzgerald would love to see the LGFA, Camogie Association and the GAA all combine for the betterment of the game going forward.
“I have been openly vocal about this for some time and I think it’s the only way forward for the LGFA. The GAA have all the facilities available to them and really the LGFA don’t have anything (from the point of view of pitches and training facilities).
“If we are looking at things being equal going forward, and it was great to see the government increasing the funding for female players last week, then I do think the three associations have to com under the one umbrella.
“I think it would be fabulous for all three associations and particularly for the girls. It takes the pressure off regarding training facilities and having venues like the Páirc available to the girls for games.
“Cork have been very good to us and the camogie sides and it’s great that our two home league games are both down the Páirc this year, as was the camogie’s game against Tipp last weekend.
“I think this would also improve the situation for dual players and would only be good for all involved going forward.”
Ephie was speaking ahead of Cork’s Lidl National Football League campaign, which starts tonight as they take on Tipperary.
He said they won’t be placing as much emphasis on the league as other years and their aim is to give as many players game time and peak for the championship later in the summer.
“We have eased ourselves back into playing and didn’t go hell for leather at the start for fear of picking up injuries with players having been off for so long,” said Ephie.
“It’s all about getting the balance right between fitness, nutrition, and actual football training then. Dublin have set the bar very high in this regard in recent years and it is up to us, and the others, to try and raise ourselves to that standard.
We have Johnny Holland in this year doing nutrition with the players and he has been a revelation and I do think that come championship we will be fitter than we have ever been.
“We are long past the days of turning up with a bag of balls and starting training. It’s gone high-tech now and you have to keep up with that to have any chance of competing. All the girls would have GPS on them so we know what they have been doing in a session and we can monitor that to ensure they are training to the right levels.
“We are looking forward to the start of the league tonight, but we will be a bit rusty as we haven’t played any challenge games against other counties. We have played a few matches amongst ourselves and the girls that are there are very competitive so we are happy enough with that.”
This year the league format sees two groups of four, with two to emerge from each group for the semi-finals. Dublin and Waterford are the two other sides that Cork will face in the group stages.
“I think the league format this year with two groups and two to qualify from each is a good one and maybe one that could be considered going forward, rather then reverting back to the old format.
“But we will be working towards our fitness and gearing towards the championship rather then the league. The season is short so we need to be in prime condition when the championship kicks off in nine weeks or so.
“We want to try and give as many players as we can game time, but having said that we also want to try and win very game we play. Within the panel now we can swap like for like, so at times before we might have played some of them if they were slightly injured, but now I think we have the strength not to have to do that.
“So all in all there is a good vibe there and we are looking forward to the challenges ahead."
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