There may be no Cork team on the main ladies football programme at Croke Park on Sunday, but the county will be well represented by an Aghada ‘Gaelic for mothers and others’ selection.
The G4M&O initiative continues to be a powerful social movement, attracting women in droves back to the sport, or into sport for the first time.
There are more than 200 affiliated teams around the country. In Cork alone, there are clubs from Banteer, Kilmurry, Inch Rovers, Delanys, Passage West, Bishopstown, Cloyne, Erin’s Own, Douglas and Aghada.
It is the Aghada women who won a competition for a place on the LGFA’s biggest day. They will play an exhibition game against Silverbridge from Armagh during one of the half-time breaks in Croke Park.
G4M&O teams from Feohanagh-Castlemahon and Murroe Boher in Limerick, Ballymore in Westmeath, and Galbally in Tyrone will also feature.
Several U10 teams will also play exhibition games on a weekend when the LGFA family gathers together — more than 50,000 are expected in Croke Park.
Each of the G4M&O teams are allowed to bring 10 players and two mentors to HQ, so the Aghada club, who are trained by former inter-county hurling referee Cathal Mac Alastair, held a draw that they broadcast live on social media, such was the interest in winning a coveted spot.
“There is great excitement in the place,” says Jennifer Hayes, one of the lucky 10. “This is a dream come true for us.
“My daughter is football mad and she can’t believe I’m getting to play in Croke Park. The first thing she said to me was not to forget to bring home a blade of grass.
“The Mothers and Others has been absolutely brilliant this year and interest is growing all the time.
“We’ll be proud to represent Cork on Sunday.”