Ashling Thompson: 'If I had to go into a bathroom and change into my gear, that would p**s me off'

The Cork camogie star discusses the actions of the Republic of Ireland WNT and GAA double-headers

Ashling Thompson

Image: ©INPHO/Ken Sutton

The Republic of Ireland's Women's National Team (WNT) took a stand this month, in a landmark day for women's sport in this country.

Players took it upon themselves to demand change from the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and challenge some of the conditions under which they represent their country.

Of the senior team, 14 members - alongside union representatives from the Professional Footballers' Association of Ireland (PFAI) - addressed the media to air their grievances that they allege has long been ignored.

Within three days of this action, the FAI released a statement to say they had entered talks with the team.

"I don’t think anyone understood how bad it was and no one expected it to be that bad," says Cork camogie star, Ashling Thompson.

"People were shocked to see that the basics needs were not being met. That was my first reaction. They were dead right to come out and I was surprised they hadn’t come out earlier than that."

At the same time of the WNT holding their press conference, chief executive John Delaney was elected to the Uefa Executive Committee.

Speaking to Tony O'Donoghue at the time, he said he 'hoped all matters would be resolved' whilst still away at the Uefa Congress in Helsinki.

Stephanie Roche, Aine O'Gorman and Emma Byrne with members of the women's national team at a press conference at the start of April. Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Exposed

Thompson says that the FAI being caught on the hop should act as a deterrent for all other organisations.

"It keeps people on their toes, especially when an association is exposed like that.

"[Teams] should speak out if there’s an issue and don’t let it eat into you. That could have had a huge effect on their performance.

"Even changing your gear in the bathroom, that’s so demoralising. On the day of the game, if I had to go into a bathroom and change into my gear, that would piss me off. It messes with your mindset."

Thompson's Cork now prepare for the Camogie League Division 1 final against Kilkenny and she says that the increased coverage in some areas has benefitted the sport.

"Women’s sport is definitely coming into the limelight more lately. It is a good thing but to be honest I think we tend to talk about these things a lot."

Julia White of Cork with Anna Farrell of Kilkenny ahead of the Camogie League Division 1 final this weekend. Image: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

An area of frustration remains the fact that there is still little action taken between the GAA and the Camogie Association to put forward the sport.

Double-Headers

Writing for this website, Sinead Farrell put forward the point that one of the most effective ways to grow Ladies GAA is to work in tandem with the men and arrange double-headers which would promote both sports.

This weekend, Cork and Kilkenny will serve as the curtain-raiser for Tipperary's Division 1 league final clash with Galway, but Thompson insists more needs to be done.

"There’s been plenty of opportunities this year to have double-headers between camogie and hurling and it hasn’t happened.

"If you say you think it’s going to be a good idea and think it will put camogie on the map more, do it and don’t talk about it."

On 7th May 2017, Ashling Thompson, Thomas Barr and Con Doherty will hit the road simultaneously with tens of thousands of runners worldwide to help find a cure for spinal cord injury, thanks to the Wings for Life World Run App. The app allows anyone, anywhere in the world, to join the global movement, sharing the experience right down to a Virtual Catcher Car and your name on the Global Result List. Registration is now open for everyone at wingsforlifeworldrun.com.