Ciara O'Sullivan of Cork after a league game. Photo: Eoin Noonan/Sportsfile

Ladies’ football left behind again

Parents were furious on Leeside this week when development camps for ladies’ Gaelic football were cancelled due to Covid, while other development programmes within the GAA were allowed to continue.

Development camps for U13 and U15 ladies’ football had already started in Cork when parents were informed that, due to reasons linked with Covid, the programme would be stopped and postponed until next year.

However, official GAA hurling, men’s football and camogie programmes are going ahead, leading to frustration amongst parents and players alike.

Development camps such as these are considered crucial in getting young girls involved in Gaelic football from an early age.

It is understood that the decision was made by the Ladies’ Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) which is the main governing body for ladies' Gaelic football for the whole country.

In a tweet posted earlier this week, the Cork branch of the LGFA expressed its disappointment at the decision, writing: “What a terrible pity @LadiesFootball won’t allow girls to participate in development like this, like their @officialgaa and @OfficialCamogie counterparts are allowed to. @lidl_ireland campaign talked about LEVELLING THE PLAYING FIELD - pity we don’t heed it.”

There was further controversy when a tweet was spotted apparently showing a ladies’ football development programme taking place in Dublin after camps in Cork and around the country were shut down.

However, the LGFA has denied that any ladies’ development camps took place in Dublin and said the tweet was posted in error.

A statement issued to the Cork Independent read: “For further clarification, there is no development academy or camps in Dublin. A tweet was issued about two girls from a club but they didn't attend a development academy, and the tweet was issued in error.”

The statement went on to say: “The LGFA Player Development Programme (previously development squads) is not going ahead this year. This is also a new programme which was due to be rolled out this year but has been delayed due to Covid-19 to allow the time and focus remain on club activity. It will be launched in 2022, hopefully, and with further restrictions lifted.”

Earlier this year, the LGFA cancelled the All-Ireland series at underage level for 2021. It was also cancelled in 2020. The LGFA told counties that provinces can organise provincial championships but there would be no All-Ireland semi-finals or finals.