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Tyrone chiefs have shown 'shocking' disregard for our ladies, blasts Canavan

 

By Declan Bogue

A fixtures clash brewing in Tyrone has provoked an angry reaction from one of the county's most respected figures.

This Sunday, Tyrone ladies face Tipperary in the All-Ireland Intermediate final in Croke Park, which throws in at 1.45pm.

However, the Red Hand county board have set a senior men's Championship tie for later that day with Errigal Ciaran due to face Carrickmore in Pomeroy at 6pm.

Tyrone's 2003 All-Ireland-winning captain Peter Canavan, whose daughter Aine and niece Maria feature for the ladies' team, is frustrated.

He said: "There is outcry and disappointment in a lot of clubs. It has put club members in a position whereby they have to choose between Club Championship matches and an All-Ireland final that their club members are playing in.

"In an era where so many clubs are working on a 'One Club' model, Errigal has fully integrated the boys and the girls. There is no difference made between girls and boys, yet clearly there is a differentiation made here.

"It's hard to fathom that they can show such scant regard to their own Gaels."

Others will be left in an impossible situation, with Carrickmore fans unable to lend their support to their club person, the talented attacker Gemma Begley.

"There would be hundreds from Errigal and Carrickmore going down to that game to support the ladies. Now we have a fixture at 6pm in Pomeroy," Canavan explained.

"In the Quinn's case, you have a brother and a sister in Shannon and Eoin Quinn (who is a playing member of the Errigal Ciaran senior team). Eoin will not be able to see his sister playing in an All-Ireland final in Croke Park."

When contacted by the Belfast Telegraph on the matter, representatives of the fixtures committee had no public comment to make on the issue.

Canavan offered a solution to the problem. He said: "There are alternatives. They can play a Championship match on a Monday. At the very least, which wouldn't be ideal, they could play the games that didn't have any club members involved in the ladies' final on Sunday."

Noted to be one of the more progressive counties on the island for integrating the various wings of the club in recent seasons under the 'One Club' model, Tyrone were the first county to appoint a female county board chairperson when Roisin Jordan of Eglish took the reins in December 2014.

Canavan feels this situation could cause Jordan some discomfort. He said: "It's a shocking decision from the fixtures committee. If nothing else, it's put our county chairperson in an unenviable position. It's put her into a predicament, it's embarrassing for her."

A member of his club's Youth Committee, Canavan believes the current integration work has served the Association well when it comes to spreading the burden of volunteering among a club's membership.

"You call on the girls to put their shoulder to the wheel every bit as much as the men. There is no difference made. And they train every bit as hard so it is a shocking decision," he added.

Meanwhile, the refixed Championship match between Omagh and Ardboe has been set for tomorrow night in Armagh's Athletic Grounds, perhaps the first time any Club Championship game has been staged outside of its own county.

The match was postponed due to the untimely and sudden death of Omagh St Enda's stalwart Charlie O'Donnell, father of current player Connor.

Belfast Telegraph

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