Belfast Telegraph

Armagh ladies have been shown a total lack of respect

By Declan Bogue

This weekend, Armagh ladies have a glorious chance of qualifying for the National League semi-finals, a brilliant accomplishment for Ronan Clarke in his first year in charge.

A win, or even a draw, against the might of Cork ladies - in a week in which their rivals may be grieving the retirement of the legendary Valerie Mulcahy - would guarantee a place in the last four. Even a narrow loss, preserving their healthy score difference, might be enough.

A great pity, however, is how they were messed about last weekend after they made the journey to play Cork.

Given how Clarke (left) has been able to raise the standards of treatment afforded to the ladies, they travelled on the Saturday and had an overnight stay. The poor weather predicted in Cork was a concern, so they emailed on the Friday to ask if a Plan B was in place in case the Eire Óg venue was unable to host the game. They were told to come on down.

The game was cancelled. There was no Plan B. No all-weather pitch could have been held on standby it seems. The whole trip cost the Armagh ladies a reported £4,000.

An offer to travel to Portlaoise on Sunday to play the game there was turned down by Cork, who did not wish to travel.

An offer to play the game on Thursday or Friday of this week was also rejected.

Now, they are preparing to make the journey yet again, asking players to forget their scheduled spare week and to put everything on hold for another long weekend.

Occasionally, these kinds of scheduling disasters crop up in the GAA at every level and in each code. There is no point in seeking out scapegoats or parties to blame.

But still, you have to question the lack of respect shown towards Armagh for the distances and commitment involved, all for the want of a phone call or two.

Belfast Telegraph

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