Tyrone ladies’ Gaelic football boss Gerry Moane has confirmed they will not be appealing the decision by the Ladies’ Gaelic Football Association to arrange this weekend’s All-Ireland Intermediate quarter-final against Leitrim for the home of their opponents.
Pairc Seán MacDiarmada in Carrick-on-Shannon is the venue for a double-header of games on Sunday, with Sligo and Roscommon the curtain raiser before Tyrone face Leitrim.
“The rules of the ladies’ Association dictate that all senior Championship matches are played at neutral venues. That’s a sort of a given,” explained Moane, a former Fermanagh ladies’ manager.
“The county board are more aggrieved than me about it. We will play the match wherever it has to be played, as far as I am concerned.
“We are prepared to play it in Carrick-on-Shannon. It is a fine venue, fine facilities. As for the county board, they were never consulted. It was just put up on the official website that that was where the venue of the game was.
“Yes, I said it’s unbelievable that it happened within the rules of the Association, but that’s where it starts and ends for me. The game will be played in Carrick-on-Shannon, nobody has told me any different and that is where we are prepared to go.”
Part of the problem for ladies’ football is that as a relatively ‘new’ sport they have no facilities, and therefore are reliant on the generosity of GAA hosts.
On this matter, however, things have improved as the procurement of county grounds for the latter stages of competitions are now commonplace.
“They have made strides to get good venues. The senior quarter-finals were in Nowlan Park, Kilkenny on Saturday, which is a fine venue, one of the best on the island,” explained Moane.
Tyrone ladies train in the Garvaghey complex and last year found themselves travelling along with senior footballers to training, but not getting the same treatment afterwards, with no post-training meal provided.
With the Women’s Gaelic Players’ Association now well established and respected in the wider GAA family, that scenario is no longer the case, insists Moane.
He said: “I know personally we are making large strides in Tyrone. I am not going to speak for other counties but I know there has been a total disparity in some counties.
“Yes, we still have a long road to go yet, but we have a new chairperson in now, Donna McCrory of Edendork, and there is a lot of work going on in Tyrone at the minute to bring it into line and make changes, and there are changes afoot.”
Moane presides over a new-look Red Hands team this season, but they still retain the services of Neamh Woods, who is also an international netball player for Northern Ireland.
“She’s better than ever,” enthused Moane.
“She is one of a kind, she’s different class, in a different league. She is a real leader.
“That’s why she is captain of Tyrone.”