Former Cork star Anna Geary believes female club footballers and camogie players could be best served by linking up with the recently formed Club Players Association (CPA) rather than starting a separate women’s organisation.
Geary, who captained Cork to an All-Ireland camogie title in 2014 before announcing her retirement at 27 just eight months afterwards, was a part of the Women’s GPA (WGPA) starting committee two years ago.
Speaking at the launch of Littlewoods Ireland’s sponsorship of the National Camogie Leagues, the Milford native suggested female club players do not necessarily need their own representative body in the same way inter-county players do.
“We only set up the WGPA in January 2015 so we’re only just establishing that and I suppose the fear would be if you try and do too much too soon you’re going to fall between two stools,” said Geary.
“I think if down the line, the women… they might join up with the CPA and have one joint-club structure.
“With the WGPA and the GPA that time, we felt we had a lot more pressing issues that weren’t [existing] issues for the GPA - small things like hot showers, getting food after training, travel expenses, physio expenses,” added the former Cork defender, who encouraged the CPA adopt a “collaborative” approach to solving fixture issues with the GAA.
When asked if she would like to see the CPA represented by female club players, Geary cautioned: “Well I think they [the CPA] need to be very clear about where they are going with it, and what it is they want to set out and do.
For the last two years I’ve been a club player and I’ve seen the frustration with not knowing whether a match is going to be on or not.
“The CPA, GPA and GAA all have to work together. I think that’s the one thing we learned in the WGPA is that working together with the Camogie Association and Ladies Football is so much better than being a thorn in their side.”
Geary also hinted she would like to see the Camogie Association and the Ladies Gaelic Football Association merge with the GAA – an ideal previously expressed by GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghaíl.
“Down the line, I would love to see them fall under the one umbrella. I just think it’s necessary from a fixtures point of view,” said Geary.
“I would love to see camogie matches played in front of hurling games and ladies football a lot more often than when it happens. Hopefully long-term then they will all fall under the one umbrella. It just means you are pooling resources and ideas.
“Once the camogie and football never lose their voice - because that would be the biggest thing,” added Geary, who hailed Littlewoods’ sponsorship of the camogie leagues as an example of the female sport’s growing potential.
“Having campaigns like Littlewoods Ireland that are equally treating the hurling and camogie the same obviously bodes well for both games,” said Geary after the Camogie Association unveiled their first title sponsor ever for their national leagues ahead of a ‘Style of Play’ campaign, which the former Cork captain hopes “will highlight the skill levels in camogie.”
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