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'Do they think female athletes don't need recovery? This wouldn't happen in the men's game'

The decision to fix the Offaly ladies football senior county final the day after camogie semi-finals has raised player welfare concerns.

Image: Tom Maher/INPHO

OFFALY LGFA HAVE been criticised for fixing the ladies football senior county final for just 24 hours after the senior camogie semi-finals, where a number of dual players will be involved on both days.

Concerns have been raised on player welfare grounds with one club involved remarking, ‘Do Offaly LGFA even care about their players?’

Last night, the senior ladies football final between Tullamore and Naomh Ciaran was fixed for Sunday, 2 October.

On Saturday, 1 October, the senior A and B camogie semi-finals are slated to take place.

Around 11 footballers from Tullamore and Naomh Ciaran are involved in the camogie fixtures the day before the football decider.

The Offaly football champions do not enter the Leinster club championship until 22 October, which has added to the frustration of the clubs involved. 

In correspondence to clubs last night, the Offaly LGFA fixtures committee said that they “regret that no compromise was able to be found, but also highlight that this date has been penciled in since the start of the adult championships.

“We have done our best to try to give dual players as much time as possible between games but due to other factors it’s not possible to have separate weekends where there is not a clash with camogie or other sports.

“Therefore, we have to stick to the original date for our adult finals.”

Tullamore ladies football manager Matty McCormack questioned whether a similar situation would be allowed to arise in the men’s game.

“Our players deserve the chance to be at their best on the biggest game of the year,” he told The42.

“We expect our players in ladies football to inspire the next generation. We should expect the same from our administrators. 

“We have nine players on our panel that will be playing camogie semi-finals less than 24 hours before a senior county final. This would not happen in the men’s game, how in 2022 is it allowed to happen? 

“We are positive the players in Naomh Ciaran don’t want this either. We have always found them to be fair and honest. We can’t honestly believe it’s the players’ decision, it’s most unlikely they were consulted on it.

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“The champions of Offaly are playing in Leinster on 22 October. The county final could easily be played on 8 or 9 October. Why is this not happening? Do they think female athletes don’t need recovery and preparation?”

Offaly LGFA are currently undertaking a major fundraiser to help develop their own grounds and McCormack insists they should pay greater respect to the welfare of their players.

“It’s something I would ask, do Offaly LGFA even care about their players? They are asking the Offaly public and businesses to fund a new facility but right now it looks like they don’t care about their players.”

He added, “You have to wonder is it the attitude, ‘It’s just a girl’s game, they will be fine.’”

Offaly LGFA chairperson Tom Fitzmaurice declined to comment when contacted by The42.

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Kevin O'Brien

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