Three-in-a-row All-Ireland winning Dublin manager Mick Bohan reckons the ladies game will continue to suffer until the LGFA and GAA amalgamate fully.
Bohan’s Dublin ladies and Dessie Farrell’s men’s team will be involved in high profile double headers over the next two weekends in Castlebar and at Croke Park.
Both Dublin teams play Mayo this Saturday and will be in action again on Saturday week at Croke Park, against Cork and Monaghan respectively.
Bohan said double headers like these are the obvious way to develop the ladies game but fears that if the pressure isn’t kept on fixture schedulers then they’ll stop happening.
“I still believe that until this all comes under one umbrella it will never really work,” said Bohan, referencing the separate LGFA and GAA organisations. “Because the minute you take your eye off officials for those double headers, and they’re not in the public glare, they’ll go back to doing what suits them best as opposed to the things that are good for ladies football.
If we’re serious about trying to promote the game, the double headers are the only way forward. But even going looking for county grounds for a match at the weekends is still an issue.
Bohan also raised the issue of the new ladies football championship structure which will see his team wait at least three months for their campaign to begin.
With no Leinster championship this year — due to Dublin being the only eligible team — the Jackies will enter the competition in a new format of two six-team groups.
“If we were to compete in a league final — which is obviously going to be a big ask — but if we were to compete in a league final, the first round of the championship for us is 12 weeks later,” said Bohan.
“It’s like a whole new season.”
On the issue of potentially introducing an advanced mark for the ladies game, Bohan poured cold water on that idea.
He said that high fielding is an underused skill which needs to be developed before they could consider replicating the rule that’s been brought into the men’s game.
Bohan referenced Aishling Moloney’s display of catching last weekend for Tipp in their league draw with Dublin as a rarity and said it’s an area players need to work on.
“I don’t think they field the ball enough,” said Bohan. “One of the weaknesses of the women’s game is they don’t high catch. There are very few players who actually take the ball over their head.
Aishing Moloney gave a bit of a display at the weekend but there’s very few girls who catch the ball over their head. That’s one of the skills they’ve to improve on.
“I’d love to see less hand-passing in the women’s game and more kicking. It’s certainly a skill that we’ve tried to introduce. But that is a weakness in the game, for sure.”