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29th Nov 2023

Ladies’ dual difficulties reach crisis point this weekend after season of short turn-arounds

Niall McIntyre

The dual players of Na Fianna will play All-Ireland semi-finals in camogie and ladies football this weekend.

Having balanced the two codes throughout the season, this is something they are very accustomed to having played Leinster quarter finals and semi-finals respectively, within 48 hours of each other.

The same scheduling issues took place during their county championship journey too but they were hoping the All-Ireland series would be different.

It won’t be.

The truth is that, starting this Saturday in Darver, Louth at 3.00, it’s going to be even more difficult than usual.

They’re taking on Tyrone side Eglish in the All-Ireland intermediate club camogie semi-final in the Wee County and, immediately afterwards, they’ll sit in for the 300km trip to Cork where they’ll stay the night, before taking on Glanmire in Mallow on Sunday at 2.00 in the All-Ireland football semi-final.

12 of the Na Fianna players are expected to start both games, injuries aside of course.

Meath ladies football captain Shauna Ennis plays both codes for Na Fianna

The club executive and their players have expressed their deep disappointment at the furore but they aren’t alone.

The Glanmire ladies also face a similar task with ten of their players involved on Saturday, when their sister club Sarsfields compete in the All-Ireland senior camogie semi-final against their namesakes, Sarsfields of Galway.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Sarsfields player Niamh O’Callaghan indicated that, like Na Fianna, they would have welcomed a decision to push one of the games out to the following weekend.

Their dual players also faced the same situation last weekend, when the Glanmire footballers travelled to London to take on Tír Chonaill in the All-Ireland semi-final on Saturday.

The very next day their camogie team defeated Tipperary’s Drom-Inch, in Tipperary in the Munster final.

But the fixtures remain despite the willingness of both clubs to change.

Sarsfields camogie player Niamh O’Callaghan.

The LGFA have said that it wouldn’t have been ‘feasible’ for them to push the game out to the following weekend, with the All-Ireland finals penned in for December 16/17.

They pointed to ‘match programmes, officials, printing jerseys specific to the All-Ireland Finals, to name but a few’ of the reasons why.

The Camogie Association, meanwhile, said that they attempted to accommodate a switch only for this request to be turned down by Eglish due to work and travel plans.

The dual players of Na Fianna and Glanmire/Sarsfields will surely find it hard to look past the fact that, from a male perspective, Naas never faced the same situation, despite reaching provincial semi-finals in both codes.

The fact that the LGFA and the Camogie Association are separate organisations obviously plays its part, and all it does is accelerate the need for a merger.

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