GAA | 2 months ago
Mayo ladies star hits the nail on the head over difference in men and women GAA
"When stuff like that happens you throw your eyes to heaven"

The rich getting richer and the poor get poorer.

That’s the saying anyway, some people have it all while the rest of us don’t.

And that’s how it seems to be going in the GAA, you hear of Dublin players appearing at sponsorship events with containers of food and every last macro being counted and then there’s the rest.

The divide is clear at the top – and then you look at the bigger picture.

You look at the divide between Dublin and the rest and after giving out about that you look at the divide between men and women and realise that, for literally the same ball game, it is being treated like a whole different one altogether.

You hear stories of women being treated like second class citizens in comparison to their male counterparts, you see the males getting their sponsorship deals, hear rumours of the expenses that they claim and everything being done for them. It’s professional in everything but its status.

And then you hear the story of a Limerick ladies final being scheduled for 9am because of a conflicting tag rugby tournament, you hear of a senior championship semi final not having any umpires and the match being decided by a shootout with the only light source that of the car lights trying to illuminate the pitch.

"Nothing ever surprises me, I’m used to it now at this stage," Mayo ladies Sarah Rowe says.

It’s a sad thing to hear from a young woman that will be lining out in Croke Park in just over a week and a half in an All-Ireland final. She’s seen it all.

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Rowe is speaking to SportsJOE at the launch of Lottoland’s ClubPlay fundraising initiative, it’s a cause she believes in and is happy to get behind knowing GAA clubs and all their members will genuinely benefit from it.

"You’re looking to get respect so don’t do things like that, that will have people not respecting the organisation," she genuinely doesn’t seem surprised as alluded to earlier, it’s nearly comical at this point to her.

"It’s like the time I suppose that the women’s football final was on the Sunday and it changed because the men’s went to a replay and when stuff like that happens you throw your eyes to heaven."

It’s not the first time that Rowe has spoken out about this treatment of women in the game. A year ago, she lamented the fact that her male counterparts could get anything they wanted whether it be physiotherapy, food after training or the kitchen sink, they want it they get it while the ladies were left empty handed.

"They’ve a consistent pitch every week, their players don’t have to worry about raising money where as the ladies would," Rowe explains.

"We’d be doing fundraising events in order to raise money for our county board that don’t have the same amount of money so that’s probably the real difference which is money."

There has been progress since Rowe hit the headlines a year ago; the recovery meals are now in place at least.

"After all my complaining we get food now after each training session. The same fella feeds the men and the women, it’s great that we have that," Rowe says with a hint of personal pride.

"Some players get more things than others, I’m pretty privileged and lucky enough to be the ambassador for Lidl and Volkswagen as well so I’m lucky that things have come my way but not for everyone else and that’s the thing we’d like to think things would be a bit more consistent in a year’s time."

Lidl last year announced a sponsorship deal with the Ladies Gaelic Football Association worth €1.5m, a great bit of business for ladies football and teams like Mayo are reaping the benefits of it.

"Lidl have been absolutely unbelievable, they came down to us on Friday to Mayo training and they brought every single player a massive bag of shopping for our preparation but they’re always doing things for players," Rowe says.

"They’ve given us vouchers for the next two weeks for our shopping. We need people like that getting behind it, businesses getting behind it but getting behind every team and every county not just one of two."

But for all the good the like of one company has done, in comparison, it just isn’t really enough in the grand scheme of things. The underlying point is for every one of the sponsors of the LGFA, the GAA has dozens.

"Things have changed definitely but the secret to success sometimes is money and I suppose you need to do an awful lot of fundraising.

"But that's just the difference between the men and the women."

Sarah Rowe was speaking at the launch of Lottoland's ClubPlay Fundraising initiative for sports clubs where clubs will receive 7% of lottery ticket sales as well as be entered into quarterly giveaways with thousands of euro to be won.