Naughton: Dual players should not be discouraged by rejection of motion calling for offical recognition

LGFA president-elect Micheál Naughton says dual players should not be discouraged by Congress’ decision to reject a motion calling for official recognition of the dual player.

Naughton: Dual players should not be discouraged by rejection of motion calling for offical recognition

LGFA president-elect Micheál Naughton says dual players should not be discouraged by Congress’ decision to reject a motion calling for official recognition of the dual player.

At Saturday’s Ladies Football Congress, a Dublin motion proposing to write in rule that the LGFA “recognise and supports the concept of a dual player, as defined, and will encourage all of its Units to support and facilitate its playing members of all ages, who wish to do so, to play both Ladies Gaelic Football and Camogie” was beaten.

Naughton, who was voted in as the association’s president-elect over the weekend and will take up office this time next year, says the motion was unsuccessful not because of any ill-sentiment towards dual players but rather the “open-ended” wording of the motion.

“The reservation was with the wording of the motion, nothing else,” explained Naughton.

“That motion came down to one word, that word being ‘facilitate’. Basically, if we allowed that motion to go through, with that word in it, it could hold up all our competitions, right down to club and underage level.

"When we talk about facilitating dual players, we could be talking about basketball or any number of sports that our players also play, not strictly camogie.”

Naughton assured dual players - such as Cork’s Hannah Looney who was critical of the vote - that the LGFA and Camogie Association will continue to work together to ensure that those who play both codes are not asked to choose between either or line out twice in the one day.

One such alleviating step taken last year was to play the two All-Ireland senior ladies football semi-finals on a seperate weekend to the camogie semi-finals.

This stemmed from the controversy which erupted in 2018 when Cork’s dual players were in danger of having to choose one code over the other after both semis were fixed for the same day.

“When Camogie Association president Kathleen Woods was Ulster president, I was Ulster president of the LGFA. We have a brilliant working relationship and we will always accommodate one another, and we will continue to work to accommodate dual players,” Naughton insisted.

“The Camogie Association and LGFA work together and support one another. National fixture-makers from both associations do meet to ensure fixture clashes are avoided.

"We are all a GAA family. We all want to make sure girls are playing whatever sport they want, and that they are respected.”

Naughton, during his four-year term, is hopeful of moving ever closer to a one-umbrella unit incorporating the GAA, LGFA, and Camogie Association.

With league double-headers now commonplace, the former Donegal senior boss is in favour of ladies football championship games also being played on the same card as their male counterparts.

“I would like to see us all come under the one umbrella. The process has started. We see it with the national league double-headers.

I want to see that mature all the way down to club level, that you would have the ladies county final on before the mens county final.

“We will look for more integration in our fixtures, more integration in our development. If you are involved in the GAA, you must do one development course.

"If you are involved in the ladies, you have to do another course. What we would like to see is one course fits all.

"The same with referees, so if you were doing a referees refresher course, it would cover both games. And that the pool of referees would be shared.

“When you see the men's game taking on board our sin-bin and considering the clock/hooter, I think there is a lot we can learn from one another.

"The two of us working together will make our associations even stronger going forward.”

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