Danny Murphy: Cork City need to build towards paying women's team

'It needs to have a proper structure and plan in place. We need to have more detail on how we will get the improvements and make it a more sustainable situation for people to be paid...'
Danny Murphy: Cork City need to build towards paying women's team

Eva Mangan with possession for Cork City FC. Picture: Larry Cummins

WHEN the FAI and the League of Ireland released a statement to confirm the introduction of professional contracts to players in the Women’s National League it was heralded as a monumental moment for Women’s football in this country.

It meant that from December 1 professional players in the WNL were subjected to the same Standard Player Contract and minimum wage regulations as men’s players in the League of Ireland. But clubs competing in the league are under no obligation to offer professional contracts.

Some clubs in the WNL have made the most of this development such as Shamrock Rovers, who seems eager to make a statement of intent in their first season with the signings of Áine O’Gorman and Stephanie Roche amongst numerous other notable acquisitions.

But Cork City, despite now being owned by Dermot Usher rather than Foras, will be one of those clubs that won’t be paying their players just yet. And in explaining why, manager Danny Murphy also admitted he believes this new development has been introduced to the league too soon.

“My biggest worry about going into professional contracts is that I don’t think it’s financially stable and able to be done at the moment,” begins Murphy.

My biggest worry for some of the clubs that are throwing the money around up in Dublin is will that money be there after eight games when they’re potentially not getting to where they want to get to and the crowds are not coming in?

“Is that sustainable for them to be able to carry on doing that? I have been in those situations. I was at Cork City when you had people paying people silly money.

“Then it’s not sustainable three months into the season and you are not getting paid for weeks. It’s brilliant that Shamrock Rovers have come into the league. Will it add to the league? Yeah, it will.

“It will add another team that is willing to invest in the girls' game so it’s brilliant and it is great for the girls. It’s good that the FAI are doing that but there are a lot of other things that need to be fixed to get it to that professional level.

“It needs to have a proper structure and plan in place. We need to have more detail on how we will get the improvements and make it a more sustainable situation for people to be paid.

“You go to some of the changing rooms in some of the clubs and the facilities for girls aren’t great. They need to improve if you want a professional look on the league. How many teams get a full training pitch to play on? I know from speaking to some of the girls that some teams train all over the place and get half a pitch some nights.

“Based on where we are at, it probably isn’t feasible to have semi-professional or professional contracts, it just isn’t. The finance isn’t there from the girl's side of the club to be able to do that.

“We need to improve certain things like the level of sponsorship and people coming to games makes a big difference.

“The cost of playing games outweighs things massively. Our cost to go to Dublin is around €1,400 a game and we are in Dublin every other week.

“Until we are running in a situation, not with a huge loss as we have done over the last couple of years, then it’s very difficult to bring those things into place.” 

LUCRATIVE

The concern for City and for Murphy is that by not turning professional, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep their star players on Leeside if they are subject to more lucrative offers elsewhere.

The club recently fought off the advances from a number of different sides to retain the services of Republic of Ireland U19 midfielder Eva Mangan for 2023.

“Eva has got huge amounts of talent and to be able to keep her has been one of the hardest things we’ve done,” admitted Murphy.

“For her to want to stay here for next season and improve and trust me as well… she wants to be around the club because she loves the club is a credit to her."

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