Lane: New WGPA a response to player needs

The creation of the Women’s Gaelic Players’ Association (WGPA) was driven by the players themselves, chairman Aoife Lane has revealed.

Lane: New WGPA a response to player needs

The association — which is a united effort between inter-county ladies football and camogie players — will officially launch in January, but has been in the pipeline for the last year.

“We spoke to players during the summer months and very much found that there was a need for something like this,” said Lane.

“Our existence really is because the players mandated it. The survey included feedback from almost 600 players at inter-county level across both codes, and nearly every one of them felt there was a need for a players’ association.

“They indicated what their needs were, and we’ll begin to respond to that through the provision of various services in 2015 and beyond,” said Lane of the WGPA, which is now aligned with the men’s GPA.

As part of the process, the GPA has given the WGPA a large donation, and for the first time they were included in a joint initiative with their male counterparts when the Madden Leadership Programme launched in Croke Park on Thursday.

The majority of the money will be spent on player initiatives.

Like its male equivalent, the WGPA will only be open to inter-county players, and already there are almost 400 signed up, including high-profile names such as Cork footballer Valerie Mulcahy, Mayo footballer Fiona McHale, Wexford camogie stars Ursula Jacob and Kate Kelly, as well as Cork camogie captain Anna Geary, Clare star Deirdre Murphy and Tyrone’s Gemma Begley.

“A unique element for us is the fact that ladies footballers and camogie players are uniting in this association, it’s already been a great learning experience to engage players from both sports,” explained Lane.

“There’s a number of top inter-county players involved in the leadership team at present and every county will have a representative in a structure that will be similar to the GPA,” Lane added.

The official launch will take place in Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin on Tuesday, January 20, with a host of female sports athletes present.

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