Support Her Sport: June 2016

By Liberty Insurance Ireland on 5 July 2016
Support Her Sport: June 2016

The Camogie Championship has started with thrilling news from both on and off the pitch.

The Camogie Championship season kicked off on June 18th and before the players even reached the pitch there was cause for celebration. Two days earlier, news had broken of a new €1 million government grant awarded to the camogie and ladies football associations, ring-fenced to provide training and medical support.

Aoife Lane, chairperson of the Women's Gaelic Players Association (WGPA) said it was a big statement that went way beyond the money. "This the first time the government and Sport Ireland have recognised our players as elite athletes," she said.

The funding shows the confidence held by the Government in the success of inter-county ladies football and camogie players.

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Patrick O'Donovan, agreed, saying: "The funding shows the confidence held by the Government in the success of inter-county ladies football and camogie players."

As official sponsors of GAA Camogie and ardent supporters of women in sport, we at Liberty Insurance are only too delighted with the announcement. This, combined with the news that RTE will be broadcasting the All-Ireland Camogie Semis and Finals, is proof positive of a cultural shift toward greater gender equality. But there is still more work to be done, which is why we launched Squad Goals in partnership with Her.ie and SportsJoe.ie. We’re looking forward to uncovering some new talent, so if your squad has skills you’d like to show off, check out how to enter here. There’s €5,000 in it for the winners, plus the chance to take your skills to the pitch in Croke Park during the All-Ireland finals.

On-pitch action

It’s way too early in the season to make a call, but here are the results from some of the most thrilling matches so far:

  • Limerick had a great win over Waterford, partly down to an outstanding performance by Niamh Mulcahy. Final score 2-14 to 1-8
  • Galway comfortably won their opener against Tipperary by 1-13 to 1-10, leading from start to finish
  • Offaly have had a perfect start to their season with a comprehensive 2-14 to 1-7 win over Wexford
  • Cork easily overcame Clare by 5-19 to 0-10 thanks to a storming second half performance

Ireland throws down at the Para-Athletics European Championships

Four of Ireland’s elite throwers brought home medals from the competition in Grosseto, Italy last month. Shot putter, Deirdre Mongan won bronze in the F53/54 final, while the discus finals were dominated by the Girls In Green. Niamh McCarthy threw for silver in the F40/41, while golds were taken by Noelle Linihan in the F38 and Orla Barry in the F57. Barry, who threw a personal best of 31.18m to take the top honour, received even more good news later in June when it was announced that her performance at last year’s IPC Championships in Doha would be awarded silver, after the medal was stripped from Bulgarian Stela Eneva, who was found to be violation of an Anti-Doping Rule.

Cyclist triumphs in coast to coast race, then endures the Internet

Coming first is certainly sweet, just desserts tasty too, but perhaps no victory could be more delicious than one that sets detractors in their place.

Coming first is certainly sweet, just desserts tasty too, but perhaps no victory could be more delicious than one that sets detractors in their place.

Lael Wilcox, a 29 year-old mountain biker from Alaska finished first in last month’s Trans Am Bike Race, a 6,870km self-supported bike race that crosses the U.S. from Oregon to Virginia. Wilcox, a relative newcomer to the sport of endurance biking, finished the race in 18 days and 10 minutes, smashing the women’s previous record by nearly three days, and finishing just 4 hours shy of the course record set by Steve Hall in 2014. Apparently incredulous that a woman could possibly outlast and outperform fellow male competitors, internet critics suggested Wilcox must have cheated, despite the victor pointing to the evidence provided by a GPS tracker that had streamed her race progress. Haters hate on that data!

Irish triumph at the Euros

Closer to home, and demonstrating strength in numbers, Ireland’s senior women’s basketball team is in Gibraltar for the FIBA European Championship for Small Countries. The squad’s first Senior International match in European Competition since 2009 ended in a comprehensive 84-43 win against neighbours Wales. It was a flying start and we will let you know next month how they fared in the rest of the competition.

Ireland’s hopes of European Championship qualification dashed

With a heavy 4-1 defeat by Finland, the Republic of Ireland Women's Football Team’s hopes of European Championship qualification were all but ended. Ireland’s only bright moment in a heavily one-sided game came with a late second half goal from substitute Stephanie Roche. The result leaves the Republic in third position in Group 2, who are now reliant on Finland losing twice to Portugal, which looks unlikely.

Despite their Euro 2017 dream practically coming to an end, a few days later Ireland welcomed Montenegro to Tallaght Stadium, where they demolished the visitors 9-0, a score that included two hat-tricks from Stephanie Roche and Áine O’Gorman. The result was impressive but in the overall race for qualification, proved too little, too late.

Great Britain and Ireland regain Curtis Cup

Great Britain and Ireland survived a fierce American fight to claim a dramatic 11.5 to 8.5 victory in the 39th Curtis Cup at Dun Laoghaire Golf Club last month.

The Curtis Cup is the best known team trophy for female amateur golfers, co-organised by the United States Golf Association and the Ladies Golf Union and is contested by teams representing the United States and Great Britain and Ireland.

We were always above the line. It was tense for a while but I never had any real doubt we would win.

It was a welcome victory for the hosts, only their second in the last 10 encounters, only their eighth in total since the inaugural contest in 1932.

Speaking after the victory, winning captain Elaine Farquharson said “The Americans played great today but I always thought we were in control,” she said. “We were always above the line. It was tense for a while but I never had any real doubt we would win.”

Female golfers given a second chance for equality

Hard to believe that in this day and age, athletes are excluded on the basis of their sex but sadly it’s still happening. It’s heartening, therefore, to learn that the famous Scottish golf club Muirfield have announced plans for a second vote on whether to admit female members. In a previous vote in May, 64% of members voted to allow women, but a two-thirds majority was required to alter the Scottish club's constitution.

In a statement released to Press Association Sport, leading charity Women in Sport said: "Last month's decision by members of Muirfield to vote against allowing women golfers to join was a dreadful step backwards for both the club and for the sport in general. It is hardly surprising Muirfield's reputation has been significantly damaged, as it is clear they currently fail to offer an environment that is welcoming to all. We hope the members of Muirfield, who have been afforded a second chance on this issue, will not make the same mistake twice."

Finally if you read one book this month…

Make it ‘Eat Sweat Play: How Sport Can Change Our Lives’ by Anna Kessel. In an engaging and inspirational book, sports writer Anna Kessel sets out what it means to be a sporty woman in the 21st Century and examines why, at a time sport has gone so mainstream, there’s so many obstacles for girls and women to get involved.

“Female body image, and its associated woes, is one of the biggest contributing factors preventing women from being physically active in the first place,” Kessel says. “But we need to reclaim sport and exercise for women … These are the real miracles our bodies perform. Not squeezing into that size-10 dress or nailing the latest up-do. But finding our muscle, and wielding it.”

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