Player welfare remains an issue for Galway ladies

Player welfare issues remain an issue for the Galway ladies footballers, experienced midfielder Geraldine Conneally has admitted.

Conneally, a 2004 All-Ireland senior medallist, has welcomed the established of the Women’s Gaelic Players Association (WGPA) as she acknowledged that little progress has been made in the fight for better conditions for Galway’s inter-county players.

Dunmore player Conneally revealed that the Tribeswomen do not receive travel expenses or food after training sessions.

Speaking at yesterday’s event to promote Saturday’s Tesco Division 1 League final with champions Cork, Conneally was asked if conditions have improved since she broke into the Galway senior panel over a decade ago.

She said: “Not overly, no. That side of things probably hasn’t changed a whole pile but fitness levels, strength and conditioning, those sort of things from 2004 since we won the All-Ireland, you can see a big change.

We’re not up to the level of men’s football. We don’t get travel expenses, the perks that the men get. But it doesn’t stop you wanting to play for your county.

“It would be nice to get the free tickets and all of that and it’s why the WGPA was set up for the ladies.

“They’re looking at these sort of things and will hopefully try to sort them out or get a start on things, and help players individually and as groups.

“It does need to step up a little bit more. The men are way ahead of us in that department. Hopefully the WGPA will help to raise those issues and get it up another level or two.”

Two members of the Galway panel were present at a recent meeting with the WPGA in Limerick.

And there are a number of key issues that Conneally would like to see addressed in the future.

She explained: “A lot of girls travel a fair distance (for training) and you’re finished training at 9, 9.30pm at night, in the car, on your way back.

“It’s just things like getting food after training. It would be nice to have that. We don’t get it.

“Other things like a set pitch in the winter months (because) you’d be here and there for sessions.”

Galway are reliant on the goodwill of local clubs for access to pitches and astroturf facilities for winter training.

But Conneally conceded: “It would be nice to have a set venue or place where you know where you’re going to be, and a good quality pitch is what you need as well.”

Conneally was asked if the Galway players have access to Tuam Stadium for training purposes, a venue where they regularly play competitive matches.

She replied: “We do for games but not for training so much this year anyway. We don’t have any dealings with pitches so I can’t really comment on that. Those kind of things would be good.”


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