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This Sporting Life

Last week we wrote in these pages about the need to remove gender based definitions when it comes to sports journalists.

Male or female, it makes no odds. Talent and work-rate are the KPI’s.

It got us thinking if the same logic can be applied to the sporting field. Why do we talk about men’s sport as just sport, while we make the definition for women’s sport? Maybe it is necessary in relation to Gaelic Games to set a definition between the two strands, but in a general sense it might help the overall profile to not set it apart. That’s just the pre-cursor to the real issue at hand though, which is the support for women’s sport.

In recent times we have seen huge strides made in relation to the push for growth in exposure, with initiatives like 20X20 and #CantSeeCantBe being rolled out. The figures from last year’s All-Ireland LGFA Finals in Croke Park were hugely encouraging, with over 50,000 people filing through the gates at Croke Park, while the camogie equivalent drew a crowd of almost 21,500. That is a massive disparity in figures, and even more so when you break it down a bit more. The All-Ireland final days in both codes are triple headers, with the junior, intermediate and senior finals down for decision. That means six counties have an interest across the three games, so there is quite a shot of work to be done if the gap between the two codes is to be bridged.

On a local level, last weekend saw the Clare minor camogie team produce an outstanding performance against Tipperary in Gort in the All-Ireland semi-final. On the field, it was brilliant. Off the field? Not so much. The support or lack of, for the Clare team in the stands was hugely disappointing. It is not often that Clare teams in general reach All-Ireland semi-finals, and surely they deserve to get the support befitting the occasion. What makes it even more disappointing is the fact that while a lot of these games are held in venues best described as “out of the way”, this was in Gort which is a mere skip up the road from the hurling side of the county. The same comment applies to this weekend. An All-Ireland Final for Clare Camogie and it is on in Nenagh. It’s not that arduous that trip and these girls deserve all the support they can get. On a broader scale, it is a massive weekend for Clare Camogie with Fr McNamara Park playing host to a double header of Munster action with the junior and senior camogie sides in action. The current All-Ireland champions Cork are going to be in action against the senior side, which surely in itself should be a massive draw. How many will be in attendance? Camogie needs to start supporting its own, and this weekend is huge chance to make real strides on that in Clare.

Get Your Tickets Early

2018 saw crazy scenes as Banner hurling fans clamoured for tickets for the Munster final, with shops across Clare seeing queues out onto the street. Social media was alight soon after as those who were left without the golden tickets vented their frustration, and in some cases rightly so. The practise of selling tickets through online sites and local shops has diluted the traditional method of accessing them from the local club. After all, don’t most people pay their membership in order to be eligible for match tickets? The other side of the coin is that in the pace of the modern world, we want to be able to do things quicker and easier, so being able to get your tickets while also getting the loaf of bread and pint of milk is just convenient. It does beg the question though of fairness. For example, is it fair that someone who was in a bitterly cold Fraher Field in January for the Munster League game against Waterford should miss out when the heat of championship comes? Certainly not. The GRMA scheme and season ticket options have improved the balancing of the scales in terms of rewarding the die-hards and that is to be welcomed.

Tickets for this year’s Munster hurling championship games went on sale this week, so there is really are no excuses for missing out. There are some restrictions though, with the restricted capacity in Walsh Park meaning tickets will only be available through the clubs for the opening game against Waterford, while only terrace tickets will be on general sale for Clare’s two games in Cusack Park. Get them now and avoid the rush.

About Derrick Lynch

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