Ladies' lack of access to Centre of Excellence is 'annoying' says Kerry star Ni Mhuircheartaigh

Kingdom attacker left bemused as Currans facility is largely closed to team — despite her photo being 'on the front of it'
Ladies' lack of access to Centre of Excellence is 'annoying' says Kerry star Ni Mhuircheartaigh

One more for the mantlepiece: PwC GPA Player of the Month for March in ladies football, Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh of Kerry with her award at PwC's Cork offices. Pic: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Experienced Kerry attacker Louise Ni Mhuircheartaigh has revealed her frustration with the Munster finalists' limited access to the county's state-of-the-art training facilities at Currans.

The PwC GPA Ladies Footballer of the Month for March said the Kerry ladies were there for 'every session really' last year and admitted it's 'annoying' that things have changed this year.

Ni Mhuircheartaigh, in her 15th year playing for Kerry, said the irony is that there is a large picture of her in the training centre yet she and her team aren't actually able to avail of the facilities.

Colleague Niamh Ni Chonchuir complained back in February ahead of their Division 2 league title success that they were 'struggling at the moment to find pitches to train on' and O Mhuircheartaigh, who will lead the line again on Saturday week against Cork in the Munster final in Killarney, said the situation remains less than ideal.

"The IT in Tralee are being really good to us on a Wednesday and Friday, we are always there," said Ni Mhuircheartaigh, who sniped 2-37 for Kerry during their successful league campaign. "On a Sunday then it can change. We have been in Currans maybe once or twice since but yeah, we don't know what's the story. The IT have been excellent to us and a few club grounds were very good to us leading up to the league final."

Ni Mhuircheartaigh said it was different last year when they trained regularly at the €8m campus.

"We were there every session really, especially come Championship we were there, yeah, I don't know what the story is.

"I know the pitch there was in a bit of trouble in the league (this year) and the male teams were there but yeah, I don't know.

"It's annoying, especially when they have four photos on the front of it and I'm one of them but we are not allowed in there, so it is a bit annoying and you were just wondering what's the difference? I don't know. I'll probably be in trouble now for talking about this."

Ready to work: Louise Ni Mhuircheartaigh of Kerry during the Lidl Ladies Football National League Division 1 Round 3 refixture match between Monaghan and Kerry. Pic: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Ready to work: Louise Ni Mhuircheartaigh of Kerry during the Lidl Ladies Football National League Division 1 Round 3 refixture match between Monaghan and Kerry. Pic: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Ni Mhuircheartaigh is fully supportive of the planned merger between the GAA, LGFA and camogie associations.

"Absolutely, that's what every single ladies footballer wants, to be merging with the GAA and everyone to be working hand in hand and working together and everyone to be 100% treated the same and treated equally," she said.

Despite the training difficulties, O Mhuircheartaigh said that it is a hugely positive time to play for Kerry under Declan Quill and Darragh Long.

"There were a few years there where it was very, very hard to go training and things weren't working out our way but the management that we have have really come together as one and the belief they have in us is unbelievable, the professionalism they have brought, it's just second to none. The bond that the team has is very, very special."

Ni Mhuircheartaigh confirmed that Paris McCarthy, who will take up a basketball scholarship at East Tennessee State University in August, will be fit to face Cork after limping off in the Munster semi-final win over Tipperary with an ankle injury.

The provincial decider will be played as a double header with the men's final at Fitzgerald Stadium.

"In the past few years, we've seen a bit more of it," said Ni Mhuircheartaigh of the male/female double headers. "We had it with our Munster semi-final against Tipp. It was great. Even for people just to see the ladies game and to realise, 'There's a great standard there', they tend to come to more games then. It's going to be a big occasion."

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