LGFA “consider these matters closed” as pleas for resumption of All-Ireland series fall on deaf ears

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By Deniese O’Flaherty

Public pleas from Mercy Secondary School Ballymahon, Moate Community School and Loreto Clonmel to finish the Lidl All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Competitions have fallen on deaf ears with the LGFA releasing a statement on Friday evening explaining their decision to cancel the competitions and they now “consider these matters closed”.  

Loreto Clonmel and Moate were due to play in the All-Ireland A Final while Mercy Ballymahon had reached the B semi-final. Players from all schools made heartfelt pleas for the LGFA to reconsider their decision that was made back in March, when lockdown was announced.

The GAA announced the cancellation of the All-Ireland stages of the boys competitions but played provincial finals recently. That’s something that irked players from Clonmel and Moate. They felt the LGFA’s decision was  “unacceptable and sexist.” They added: “However, we are still not giving up on our dreams of playing our All Ireland.” Unfortunately their dreams have now been shattered.

A lot has been made about the 20×20 – Women in Sport campaign. 20×20 is supposed to be “an all-inclusive movement to shift Ireland’s cultural perception of women’s sport.” 

On their website it reads: “Everyone can help accelerate progress in this country by pledging to do just one small thing to help start this giant shift for female sport. Whether you’re a teacher who can help create greater parity and opportunities for girls, a journalist who can help increase visibility of female athletes and competitions, a parent who can attend a match or a person who can simply encourage a young woman to get involved in sport, we need you to show your stripes because if she can’t see it, she can’t be it.” Unfortunately the slogan “if she can’t see it, she can’t be it,” is just words. 

The LGFA statement: 

THE Ladies Gaelic Football Association wishes to make the following statement regarding the Lidl All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Competitions.  

The LGFA acknowledges that schools and players across all six competitions were left disappointed when, in unprecedented circumstances, the extremely tough decision was taken in March to cancel the Lidl PPS All-Ireland Championships for 2020.  

This decision was taken in the best interests of all relevant stakeholders, and in line with Government and Public Health Authority advice, following the onset of Covid-19.  

The LGFA is proud of its role in helping to limit the spread of Covid-19 and, at all times, the health and wellbeing of all of our members has been our primary concern, and that will continue to be the case.  

We are delighted that club activity has resumed across the country – and we very much hope that local competitions will be completed, ahead of a planned return to inter-county activities in October.  

However, it should be noted that the total of 85 confirmed new cases of Covid-19 reported yesterday (Thursday) is the highest daily number since late May, and Public Health Officials are extremely concerned by recent trends.  

It is quite clear that Covid-19 remains a very real threat to our members and their families, and we will continue to play our part in the fight against coronavirus.  

At present, the clear and prescient advice is that fixtures should be played at local/county level only, before a return to national activity later in the year.  

Covid-19 and its associated dangers are still very much with us – and will be for some time.  

In the current climate, we cannot, and will not, sanction any fixture that involves participants from separate provinces, and until the inter-county window officially opens. 

The LGFA’s stance on the 2020 Lidl All-Ireland Post Primary Schools competitions, and indeed other competitions and initiatives affected, has not changed since it was first communicated in March, and reaffirmed following a recent review.  

We will not be revisiting decisions relating to the health and safety of our members, which remain wholly relevant, and we consider these matters closed.