Aogán Ó Fearghail wants all groups including camogie and ladies football as ‘one GAA family’

Aogán Ó Fearghail: Membership is happy but they want us to be one family with ladies football and camogie. Picture: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

The camogie and ladies football associations could officially become part of the GAA by the end of the current GAA president’s term of office.

Aogán Ó Fearghaíl has given the strongest indication yet that the camogie and ladies football organisations could be, along with hurling and gaelic football, part of one GAA family.

Feedback from grassroots has convinced Ó Fearghaíl that the time is ripe to bring all the national games under the one umbrella — and it remains one of his aims during his Croke Park tenure.

Ó Fearghaíl’s announcement comes at a good time as Sunday in Croke Park marks finals day in junior, intermediate, and senior camogie.

“GAA membership is very happy but they certainly want us to be one GAA family with ladies football and camogie,” said Ó Fearghaíl.

“That message is definitely strong out there.

“Ladies football and camogie are doing the work on the ground, but they need a little bit more direction and I certainly am going to address that in the coming months.

“If you were starting again you definitely wouldn’t be starting with three different associations.

“We are strengthening but from a whole governance point of view we do need to make sure that we go forward together.

“It is vital that we have one strong bond together.

“I am very much looking forward to the camogie finals this Sunday. We share a history with camogie. This year, the year of commemoration, people are talking about the GAA’s role in 1916. We need to remember that camogie had a role in 1916, too. We have a long association with the Camogie Association. Separately we won’t be as strong as we would be together.”

Meanwhile, Ó Fearghaíl indicated that despite the positive coverage surrounding this year’s All-Ireland hurling semi-finals and final, the GAA will not immediately be mirroring the football championship restructuring proposals and introducing a radical super 6 or 8 competitions in hurling for the months of July and August.

“It’s absolutely possible — have no doubt — that the hurling championship may undergo changes in the future.

“But I’d be absolutely focused on the football championship.

“I’ve no doubt that into the future the hurling competitions will perhaps be looked at, but hurling is in a very strong place right now.

“The All-Ireland finals in hurling and football simply reflect the reality of what is happening in an organisation.

“The GAA is very vibrant. I visit three or four clubs every week. They’re vibrant, they’re humming, membership is bursting right across the organisation.

“But the activity levels are going way up. So when you get to the All-Ireland level you see that reflected in the standard of play.

“The football championship does need a little change. We do need to retain the provincial championships. The association wants us to do that, but there is a need for a certain change.

“I’m totally committed to seeing that the proposals that have been issued by Pádraic (Duffy) will be passed because we need to get that changed.

“I’m not going to muddy the waters with hurling at this stage. Down the road, yes, but for the moment we need to focus on football.”


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