EPHIE Fitzgerald has labelled the decision not to give two complimentary tickets to players competing in last weekend’s All-Ireland senior semi-finals at Croke Park as ‘absolutely ludicrous’.
The departing Cork ladies’ football boss told The Star Sport Podcast this week that he contacted the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) asking for two complimentary tickets for all of the Cork players in the squad, but was told there wasn’t any.
For the first time, the ladies’ All-Ireland semi-finals were played in Croke Park, with a double-header of Cork v Dublin and Mayo v Galway. The official attendance in Croke Park last Sunday was 10,866.
Fitzgerald feels that given players’ commitment, and the fact that ladies’ footballers don’t receive any expenses whatsoever, they should receive complimentary tickets for a match of this magnitude.
‘The girls didn’t get any free tickets for the match which I think is unheard of and I think that’s grossly unfair,’ Fitzgerald says.
‘We have parents who are driving these girls to training and bringing them home and at a fair cost to them, and to not provide players with two complimentary tickets each was just absolutely ludicrous.
‘I rang the LGFA about this but was told that there wasn’t any. These are small things but they are big things as well.
‘To me, it’s a lack of respect for the girls. For sure it wouldn’t happen in the men’s game nor should it happen by the way.
‘Our girls don’t get a penny in expenses and if you are not entitled to a couple of free tickets to bring your parents, your family or whoever, then I think there is something radically wrong.
‘My own feeling is that the LGFA needs to amalgamate with the GAA. The growth has been massive but I think the growth will be stymied, and it will probably decrease in terms of popularity if that marriage doesn’t take place. To have the ladies games before the men’s games would be a fantastic product.’
Nemo Rangers clubman Fitzgerald departs as Cork manager after a four-year spell that includes an All-Ireland win in 2016, three national league Division 1 titles as well as three Munster senior football championship wins.