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Leah Scholes/INPHO The motion will go before Dublin LGFA Annual Convention on Saturday.
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'Clear demand' - Motion to change LGFA name to Women's Gaelic Football Association
Brian Kelly of Templeogue Synge Street explains the Dublin club’s push to The42.

A DUBLIN CLUB is hopeful of submitting a motion to Ladies Gaelic Football Association [LGFA] Congress centred around changing the name of the Association to the Women’s Gaelic Football Association.

The motion, submitted by Templeogue Synge Street, will go before the Dublin LGFA Annual Convention on Saturday. If successful, the motion will be put forward at LGFA Congress next April.

Templeogue Synge Street PRO and U14 girls’ team manager Brian Kelly explains that this push came about following a recent event to celebrate 20 years of girls and women’s football at the club.

After a panel discussion hosted by Irish musician Róisín O, her mother, singer Mary Black, raised a question from the floor.

She asked, ‘Why is it still ‘Ladies’ in the title?’” Kelly tells The42. “‘Have we not all moved on a bit? Should it not be women? There would be an argument that a certain amount of people have a problem with the term ‘Ladies’.’

“I’ll be honest, I was quite taken aback by the response in the room. I mean it was close to a standing ovation. It was predominantly women in the audience. I’d say men, for a change, were probably one in 10 on that particular night — if even. It was clear that there was a demand for it.

“Our own chairman Denis Boland, on the night, committed to raising the motion – - to reflect the modern word ‘Women’ in the title.”

Kelly explains that the initial idea to change the name solely at Dublin level was not possible, so with the consent of the Dublin delegates tomorrow, a motion can be submitted at next year’s National Congress.

“I haven’t had any real pushback at all, or saying that it’s a bad idea,”  Kelly continues. “Anybody who doesn’t care, well then, don’t care. But there are people that do care, so let’s do it for the people that do care.”

A tweet on the matter posted by Irish Independent sports correspondent Sinéad Kissane last August resulted in widespread debate, and made it clear that an appetite for change exists.

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There have been several changes elsewhere in recent years, particularly in the Women’s Super League, England’s top-tier football division. Arsenal Ladies officially changed their name to Arsenal Women in July 2017, while Chelsea and West Ham dropped ‘Ladies’ from their respective titles in 2018. In rugby, Wasps changed from ‘Ladies’ to ‘Women’ in July ’19.

“Women has become the common thing to reference,” Kelly nods. “I think it’s a more modern reflection of how women see themselves. It’s got to be fixed. For us, it was if the club doesn’t raise this from the ground up, who’s going to do it? Who will fix it? A club has to raise it. So we said, well, let’s be that club. Let’s do this.”

Branding issues or heightening talk of a merger with the GAA and Camogie Association are two potential stumbling blocks which may arise down the line; the latter, in particular, quite possibly a real argument.

“I’d be of the view that that could be a nice convenient excuse for people to not do anything,” Kelly concludes. “But I’d be disappointed if they used that as an opportunity to do nothing.

“Even if it’s only for a couple of years… by the time all those arrangements are made, and any mergers happen, I don’t know the timeline but I can’t imagine that it’ll all happen in three or four months, so let’s just get on with it would be my view. Make the change. And if there’s a merger and it all becomes the GAA or whatever it will be, well fine.

“They’ve got to get this right from the start. And this is an opportunity to do it. What better way to set that stall out than by going into those discussions as the Women’s Gaelic Football Association?”

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