Leitrim Ladies will not field in the Connacht or All-Ireland Intermediate Championship in 2018. Photo by Willie Donnellan
When the Leitrim Observer broke the news late on Tuesday, May 1, that there would be no Leitrim Ladies Senior team in 2018, there was a furious reaction on social media.
Players, supporters, officials and even former managers weighed in with opinions on the decision with condemnation ringing out fiercely.
Former Leitrim manager Niall Kilcrann commented “It's sad to see and read. But only a few to blame. I had the privilege of being involved with this team for two years. You wouldn't have to scratch the surface too hard to find the personalities that are to blame. When you put the best interests of your players and your county second in the order of priority it's never going to be a healthy outcome.”
Paschal Mooney was unhappy with the news - “Sorry for Co Board and players who want to play for County team. Leitrim too small for splits. Withdrawal from Provincial C'ships might focus minds if those small minded players who have been pursuing their own agenda.”
St. Francis’ Sarah Loughlin wrote “It is a shame for Leitrim Ladies football because the ability is there. They nearly got to the All-Ireland final in 2014 and we have some of the best individual footballers in the country. Sad that the county board/ clubs couldn't resolve this."
In response, Cavan star and St. Francis player Ailish Cornyn wrote “Individual" being the key word there Sarah. County board needed clubs to pull together and this obviously didn't happen!”
Paul Kilgannon was very annoyed as he wrote “What an absolute disgrace and an insult to all the girls and ladies playing across the county at club level who have just the same ambitions and goals as their male counterparts and that’s to compete at Connacht level and also break into county squads. Never would county board allow this to happen at ANY level in the men’s game.”
Aidan Heron asked that the County come together to ensure county football in 2019 as he wrote “Get up and dust ourselves off .. make rules and ensure we stick by them no favours .. no bending rules to suit .. or our county will suffer more. Players will leave, clubs will suffer. We have lost so many great committee people in the past and there not plentiful anymore so respect and support them, it is all voluntary work as you know.. All clubs have a good season and when it concludes let’s plan together honestly for Leitrim ladies future.”
From outside the county, Bernie Osgood wrote “Shocking step backwards for Leitrim GAA & Leitrim LGFA - blame on everyone in both organisations. Hold your heads high women plenty of sports will be glad to have ye.”
In reply, Terence Reynolds, who has been involved with St. Joseph's in the past, pointed out it was up to Leitrim LGFA to solve their problems - “LGFA and GAA are two separate bodies .... it's up to each to paddle their own canoe. It's not the Leitrim GAA's fault that there are a few prominent individuals/players in the LGFA who are unwilling to allow the ladies game to progress.”
Olivia Fallon wrote “God love the girls and the up and coming girls. What a shame for Leitrim. They work so hard, if not harder then the Men's, Shame on you.”
Jenny O’Brien pointed out “Disgraceful short-sightedness. Leitrim Ladies have performed much better in recent years than their male counterparts and this is how they’re treated. Not even close to equality or respect.”
Perhaps the situation was summed up best by Maureen Gormley who wrote “This is dreadful … what is going on?????”