Equality push far from over for new Cork captain Aoife Murray

New Cork captain Aoife Murray says that there is still a long way to go for women to be treated equally to their male counterparts within the Gaelic games family.

Speaking at yesterday’s launch of the Littlewoods Ireland Camogie Leagues, which get underway on Sunday with a round of Division 1 games, Murray hailed the success of the recent inaugural All-Stars tour to Madrid as a vital development in providing camogie players with parity of esteem.

In a week when the LGFA announced a number of high-profile double-headers throughout the National Leagues, she also noted that camogie had shared its Division 1 League final with the hurling equivalent for a number of years and been part of a number of championship double-headers as well.

There remains a road to travel though, she points out.

“It’s great that we’re trying to match with the hurling league this year again but the other side is how do we get pitches for all our games?” said the winner of eight All-Irelands and seven All-Stars.

“As much as GAA, camogie and ladies football are coming closer and closer together, I know camogie teams that are paying €200 a night to just get some training facilities. So it’s great in one instance but then you’ve got to deal with on the ground issues. We’re taking big steps but sometimes you have to look at the small steps.

“It’s great we’re getting funding as well from the Government. I would always think we should get more.

“We get €500,000, the men get €1.6m. They want gender quotas in the Government for equality but yet we’re getting 500 grand. Now that €8,500 that we will get this year will make such a difference. It means we can deal more with the science of the game, which will help not just us, but every other county. In 10 years’ time, having a GPS, a heart monitor will just be the done thing. Having hydrotherapy pools will be the done thing. But if we still have to pay €200 to use GAA grounds?

“We bring money to training to buy our food. We don’t do it begrudgingly because we know how much has been done for us. As one of the girls said ‘I’m taking off a GPS monitor, I can’t complain about paying a fiver for some food’ but then you see the Cork footballers getting their free runners. You don’t begrudge them but it shows that there’s still a way to go yet.”

The Cloughduv goalkeeper will miss the start of the National League after having fluid removed from her knee last month, while Gemma O’Connor will also be absent as she continues to recover from the consequences of playing the All-Ireland final and a club match with damaged knee ligaments.

The future of last year’s All-Ireland-winning skipper Rena Buckley remains unknown and Murray’s nomination by Buckley’s club, county champions Inniscarra, to succeed the 2017 Player of the Year casts doubt over whether her long-time colleague will return to the fold.

“I don’t know, to be honest, but I certainly won’t retire Rena!” said a smiling Murray.

“I’m very, very lucky to call Rena a really good friend of mine. I hope to God she does come back but for a woman who has given so much to the game, if she does make that call, I’ll respect that. I’ll be gutted. She was playing better than ever last year. I think it was the right decision to pick one code and I hope to God it’s camogie this year but if it’s not I will give her my 100% support.”

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