Quill envisages 50,000 attendance at ladies football All-Ireland

LADIES Football President Pat Quill is targeting attendances of 50,000 at their All-Ireland finals within the next decade.

But he believes a change of attitude is necessary by grassroots players if that objective is to be achieved.

And he revealed the Association is already undertaking initiatives such as the ‘Gaelic4Mothers’ scheme to achieve their ambition.

“Unfortunately we don’t draw big attendances, we seem to be a participative sport more than a spectator sport,’’ he reasoned.

“It comes down to the girls supporting their own game – and they don’t. This is what we are trying to hammer home. I believe with the Gaelic4Mothers initiative, mothers who appreciate what has been done for them will come out and support us.

“Our long-term aim is that within 10 years, we’ll have 50,000 at our All-Ireland finals.

“I think that’s achievable with the growth that we have. We’re trying to hammer home that message that they have to support their own sport. They have to take the lead on this themselves.’’

He pointed out that they had come a long way from a crowd of just 300 at their inaugural final to a ‘high’ of about 35,000 a few years ago.

“Now our finals average about 20 to 25,000 and it’s one of the biggest attendances for a female sport in the world – the biggest apart from the women’s World Cup in soccer.’’

Ladies football continues to have both their league (Bord Gáis Energy) and championship (TG4) competitions sponsored. Now they are on the lookout for a sponsor for the Gaelic4Mothers promotion.

The Camogie Association’s league competition is sponsored by the grocery chain Gala.

Camogie Association president Joan O’Flynn explained: “It’s the perfect match between Gala and camogie in terms of the national profile of both organisations and the regional distribution as well.

“Thankfully the senior championship is secure in that sense and we are also very fortunate that we have sponsorship with O’Neills. The challenge now is to try and get more commercial sponsorship and obviously that’s going to be tough in this climate. But, there are still opportunities there and we have just appointed a new director of communication and marketing. We’re also launching a new strategic plan at our Congress in March and enhancing the profile of camogie is going to be a key pillar of that plan. It’s rolling up the sleeves really and getting out there and putting out the message of how attractive camogie is!’’

Both presidents were guests at the sixth annual Glanmire & District awards function in the Vienna Woods Hotel, along with the Lord Mayor of Cork Dara Murphy and County Mayor Derry Canty.

Twelve monthly winners were honoured and the overall award went to Elaine Harte, goalkeeper on the Cork Ladies Football team which completed five in a row last year.

The monthly winners were: Mark Scannell (basketball), Conor O’Sullivan and Tadhg Óg Murphy (hurling), Riverstown Boxing club, Tomas O’Leary (rugby), Elaine Harte, Riverstown National School, Brendan O’Connell (soccer/Gaelic football), Eimear O’Farrell (camogie), Valerie Mulcahy (ladies football), Edwin Buckley (Gaelic football), Sarsfields camogie team, Riverstown women’s soccer team.

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