Ladies Gaelic Football Association chief executive Helen O’Rourke has described the furore surrounding Saturday’s Tesco Division 4 League final between Limerick and Offaly, when both teams were denied access to the Parnell Park dressing rooms, as a “storm in a teacup.”
O’Rourke also revealed her “disappointment” that a member of the Limerick team had made contact with the Women’s Gaelic Players Association (WGPA) about match arrangements at the Donnycarney venue.
O’Rourke confirmed both teams were informed in advance that the dressing rooms were off-limits to the Division 4 finalists, as Tyrone and Tipperary were also present at Parnell Park for the EirGrid All-Ireland U21 decider.
Despite this, it is understood that Limerick’s WGPA representative made contact with the fledgling association to express her outrage.
O’Rourke insisted: “I think it was very much a storm in a teacup because it’s not first time that it has happened. As you’re aware, we try to get the Division 4 final televised. That’s a fantastic opportunity for the counties involved because in fairness, with four divisions, sometimes Division 4 can lose out. We want to treat them fairly and equally, just like the others. We’ve had this arrangement with the GAA in the past.
“Both counties were made aware of it in advance. We’ve been in venues before when the dressing rooms aren’t suitable because of the way that they are interlinked with male and female games going on, so it wouldn’t be the first time it happened.
“The county boards and the players were aware of it. They were only too happy to have the coverage and in fairness, within half a mile radius, they were given state-of-the-art facilities to tog out. They would have had to go there to warm up anyway.”
Limerick togged out at Parnell’s GAA club. Offaly, while given a choice of St Vincent’s, Na Fianna and DCU, opted for nearby St Aidan’s secondary school.
Separate function rooms were also made available at Parnell Park for pre-match and half-time team talks for the Offaly and Limerick squads.
But correspondence relayed to the WGPA from Limerick expressed deep reservations with these arrangements.
And O’Rourke admitted: “I was very surprised and a little disappointed. Initially, when the game was to be in Navan, it wasn’t going to be televised because there was so capacity to facilitate us there.
“I have to say I was disappointed because we worked hard to facilitate them. The important for them was to get their television coverage.”
O’Rourke added: “We had made arrangements and you can’t get any better than the facilities that were recommended to them.
“There were two rooms then that were provided for their talks before the match and at half time so it’s not as if they were left out on the field.”
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