The interview was broadcast on the national broadcaster and it was conducted by Aine Lawlor. Lawlor was joined by Foley, Anna Geary and Sarah Rowe. Foley is a sports journalist for one of the main national printed media outlets. Geary has won multiply All-Ireland medals in her chosen sport and now acts as a reporter for the national broadcaster. Rowe has played international soccer for Ireland at underage level and plays inter-county gaelic football for Mayo. I’m guessing that the interview was prompted by a recent newspaper article where Rowe drew attention to the conditions she has to prepare under compared to those of her male counterparts (here).
Running through the radio discussion is the idea of equality. Comparisons are made between the male and the female inter-county games. Then there are comparisons between the female inter-county gaelic games, and those of the female club game, and the female intervarsity game. Rowe claims the intervarsity game compares favourably with the other two. At this point it might have been worth pointing out that the intervarsity game is governed by “public sector” institutions where equality of treatment gets greater emphasis.
There is a reference to the governing bodies of the female game and there is a comparison with the international women’s rugby game. It is claimed that the international team gets to play in Donnybrook because the game comes under the control of the IRFU. Probably. The suggestion that the female version of gaelic games would be better resourced if they were part of the GAA is probably correct. The contributors acknowledged that there were some fears that this might mean a reduction in resources devoted to the male games.
Unfortunately for those females involved in sport, particularly team sport, they are likely to remain in the financial shadow of their male counterparts in the medium term to long term. The main reason is the lack of spectator demand for the product on offer. Fortunately, females are much closer to achieving parity of esteem. To illustrate, consider two athletes who originate from the southern part of Ireland. Roy Keane signed for Manchester United just after the top tier of English football separated from the rest. Sky pumped money into the game. Roy collected plenty of silver and silverware. He also earned the esteem of many for his leadership and performances. Around the time Roy signed for Manchester United, Sonia O'Sullivan was dominating the world female athletes at middle distance running. She collected Olympic silver and World Championship gold (a haul that would have been greater but for defeat by athletes that later tests or admitted to doping). O'Sullivan would not have earned anything like those in the Premiership (Premier League) but most would put her and Keane on similar sporting pedestals.