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Cork camogie captain on sledging in GAA and being taunted about her depression battle

The Milford star says she was taunted about her depression.

CORK STAR ASHLING Thompson has spoken about being called a “c**t” and taunted about her depression battle while playing camogie.

Speaking on Newstalk’s Off the Ball show, Thompson said that sledging in camogie was more prevalent at club level than in the county set-up, and suggested more needs to be done to tackle the problem.

“It can get really dirty, it’s disgusting really… It has to be faced head on, maybe some sort of a rule could be issued where players are sent off for it. I couldn’t imagine a 17 or 18-year-old putting up with it.

“It first started when I was going through those tough few years I had between 2009 and 2012.

“I definitely suffered between 2012 onwards where it was a constant situation — people would lash out and try to get the better of me by abusing me vocally as well as physically.

It was more physical when I was younger, but a lot more vocally and mentally as time went on.

“Verbally, I just couldn’t control my temper — it was only retaliation. It was never a case where I went after someone. I would never do that to anyone.”

Thompson, who has spoken openly about her depression battle in the past, revealed one individual taunted her about her problems.

Michael D. Higgins Cathal Noonan / INPHO Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

“(Sledging) happens from a few clubs, not too many, and there was one standout club, I won’t name them, where the past was brought up, and when I had the chance to give up on myself, (they said) I should have taken the chance.

“My ex-partner (who took his own life in 2012) was brought into it and (they said) ‘would you blame him’.

I never expected people to stoop to that level… When you hear it coming out of an athlete’s mouth, I couldn’t figure out at senior level why players act this way.

“It took everything in my power not to absolutely bury my fist down their throat… I laughed it off, thank god.

“It was absolutely disgusting but I tend to channel my revenge through my play. My answer is to absolutely destroy them on the field.”

Thompson, who is an ambassador for Headstrong, also recalled another occasion, when she was called a “c**t,” after an innocuous incident during the play.

A physio, who wasn’t allowed on the field, ran in and called me a c**t out of nowhere.

“Tension was getting high because the game was so close. There was a late pull but it wasn’t dirty or intentional, apologies were made, and then they ran in and called me that.”

Asked for advice on how to deal with sledging in training matches, she added: “Go straight to management and explain what is going on. Never quit.

Those players should then be called out and if that is not rectified, you’re definitely on the wrong team.

“There should be immediate suspension or some sort of punishment, because that’s absolutely disgusting.”

Listen to the full interview here>

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