'Personal and sensitive' welfare issues behind Mayo ladies' decision to walk 2 months ago

'Personal and sensitive' welfare issues behind Mayo ladies' decision to walk

The Mayo ladies team were thrown into disarray just three days prior to their first match of this year's All-Ireland football championship.

Up to ten panellists opted out of Peter Leahy's panel just three days before their first round clash with Cavan which is set to take place on Saturday.

Captain Sarah Tierney, vice captain Fiona McHale and the best ladies footballer in the country in Cora Staunton were among those who'd had enough.

On top of that, selector Michael McHale, vice captain Fiona's father also opted out.

The player who've stepped away from the panel issued a short statement on their reasons for departing the scene, reasons of the "personal and sensitive" kind.

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“We have stepped away from the Mayo panel for player welfare issues that are personal and sensitive to the players involved. Out of respect to the girls playing at the weekend and ourselves, we will not be commenting further. We wish the Mayo team well with their game on Saturday.”

The Womens Gaelic Players Association also commented on the issue.

"The WGPA wishes to acknowledge the situation in Mayo Ladies Football at present. We are aware of the issues at hand and are supporting all of the players. We recognise the physical and emotional commitment required to operate at the top level of our games and respect the decision of all individual players regarding their own personal playing experience.

"We would now appeal that speculation on the matter comes to an end and that all players are supported on and off the field. The WGPA will continue to work with everyone individually and collectively in the best interests of Mayo Ladies Football."

Mayo lost the Connacht final to rivals Galway last month, and were well beaten in the National League final by Dublin earlier in the year. Their quest to win that first All-Ireland since 2003 looks like an uphill battle now.