According to a certain narrative peddled out this week, Scotland’s Gemma Fay deserves an apology.
During the last few months, a huge amount of media attention was placed on Northern Ireland skipper Steven Davis for becoming the UK’s most capped player.
But if we take this week’s logic, when Northern Ireland Women’s striker Rachel Furness was acclaimed for overtaking David Healy as this country’s leading goalscorer, then Davo’s achievements of 132 caps pale into insignificance.
For former goalkeeper Gemma accumulated a staggering 202 caps for the Scottish national team, while the England Lionesses have four players well ahead of Davo in terms of appearances.
Fara Williams leads the way on 172 caps followed by Jill Scott (154), Karen Carney (144) and Alex Scott (140).
The Northern Ireland Women’s team were lauded for reaching their first ever Euro finals and creating history — but if you start comparing like-for-like with the men, then history was not actually made as our team, led by Michael O’Neill, qualified for the 2016 finals in France.
Ridiculous I know, but then it’s all about being consistent.
The same will go if a Northern Ireland player scores at next year’s Euro finals.
It should all be about the first ever women’s goal at the Euros but, if we go by this week’s thought process, it will be the third goal scored at the finals following my header and Niall McGinn’s strike against Ukraine five years ago.
And where do you stop?
The Irish FA are keen to push the Northern Ireland Futsal team and, at a quick glance, I think there is a player on 16 goals. If everything is equal, then in a couple of years time, he could be regarded as Northern Ireland’s top goalscorer, eclipsing David and Rachel.
The same could be argued about the Powerchair football team.
Madness I know, but then we live in a super sensitive world where everything has to be politically correct.
Why can’t we celebrate the girls’ achievements without having to draw comparisons with the men’s game?
Their accomplishments should stand alone and be celebrated.
The reality is they are two completely different teams.
I finished up on 80 caps, my body just couldn’t take it any more, but if I knew everything was equal and I could add to my caps by making myself available for Kenny Shiels’ side or the Futsal team, then that would have been appealing.
Of course, those options are quite rightly not available.
This week the Ballon d’Or was announced, but it wasn’t a case of Lionel Messi fighting off top players from the women’s game to win the award for a seventh time. He took home the male trophy, while Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas was thrilled to win the female version.
Closer to home, the Northern Ireland Football Writers’ Association have male and female awards at their end of season banquet.
Back to this week and I felt using David Healy’s name was guaranteed to put the spotlight on Rachel and her goals tally.
But by pushing a certain agenda, you then have to be consistent.
And we all know when the Women’s Euro finals start, the comparisons with the male team will fall silent as it doesn’t suit the narrative. Becoming the second Northern Ireland team to play at the Euros or the third person to score in such finals just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
The Northern Ireland Women’s team are in a great position and stand a chance of claiming a play-off spot for the World Cup. If they reach the finals Down Under, I would like to see the focus on THEIR amazing achievement rather than say it’s the fourth time a team from here have reached the big dance following the exploits in 1958,1982 and 1986. The girls deserve it.
We need to stop the comparisons, whether it is Kenny Shiels and Michael O’Neill or Jackie Burns and Pat Jennings.
I view Simone Magill as the second top goalscorer for Northern Ireland, behind Furness — not the third with David Healy second.
Whether society likes it or not, there is a difference otherwise I would have been a team-mate of Simone and Rachel.
As we approach 2022, I hope the narrative can return to being sensible. If it doesn’t then we’ll have a year of hypocrites contradicting themselves.
The Danske Bank Premiership title race is shaping up just nicely.
It’s tight, exciting and there are six teams in the hunt.
We’re nearly at the halfway stage and it’s great to see the part-timers Cliftonville and Coleraine holding their own with full-time outfits Linfield, Glentoran, Larne and Crusaders.
Cliftonville have been so consistent this season. They are scoring plenty of goals, their defence is resolute and Paddy McLaughlin’s team are playing good football.
Coleraine really impressed me in their win over Larne the other week. They have a great mixture of youth and experience, and they seem to have taken really well to their new pitch.
Of course, over a long hard season I expect the physical side of the game to have an impact on the part-timers and this should allow the full-time teams to kick on.
But if Cliftonville and Coleraine don’t have a crowded fixture list like last season when it was basically a match every Saturday and Tuesday from now until the end of the campaign, then they have a chance of staying the pace.
Glentoran and Linfield are looking strong but I just think it’s fantastic the League is so competitive.
Of course the division is split between top six and bottom six, however this shouldn’t detract from the wonderful job Stuart King is doing at Carrick Rangers with the limited resources available. He is proving himself to be an accomplished manager at this level and deserves a huge amount of praise for his endeavours so far.
We all know Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty as the guy who likes to act the fool.
The joker in the pack, always out to get a laugh.
But I think the sudden death of his sister Sonia last year gave him a whole new perspective on life.
And I must commend him for doing something incredibly positive in Sonia’s memory.
Kyle has taken over from actor Jamie Dornan as the patron of the Northern Ireland Pancreatic Cancer charity.
Big Laffs lost his beloved Sonia to pancreatic disease and now he is going to use his high profile to raise awareness and spread the message of the charity.
He’s well known in Northern Ireland for his goalscoring exploits during qualification for the Euro 2016 finals and football has been his entire life.
However, I know this is something that means a lot to him and I’m confident he will put a great deal into being a wonderful ambassador for this vitally important charity.