Westmeath player blasts decision to cancel All-Ireland Ladies PPS SF 'A' final

July 16, 2020

The 2020 All-Ireland Ladies PPS SF 'A' championship final has been cancelled.

A Westmeath player has blasted the decision to cancel the All-Ireland Ladies PPS SF ‘A’ championship final.

Garrycastle's Shannon Mulvihill, daughter of former Westmeath forward Paddy Mulvihill, was part of the Moate CS side that qualified for their first-ever All-Ireland ladies final in the senior grade on March 11 when beating Loreto, Cavan to set a up a clash with Loreto, Clonmel.

Two weeks later, the LGFA announced that all 2020 PPS competitions would be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Leinster PPS SF ‘A’ boys' championship final goes ahead (tomorrow, Friday 17 July) but just as with the ladies championship, there will be no conclusion of the All-Ireland series.

The Ladies All-Ireland Colleges final is not the only second level decider to be cancelled as the All-Ireland Colleges JFC A (men's) final between St Patrick's, Navan and St Brendan's, Killarney also will not be played despite an appeal to Croke Park.

Similarly the Ladies Association have turned down appeals from both Moate and Clonmel schools for the senior All-Ireland final to be re-fixed at a later date.

Transition year student Shannon says the LGFA's ruling "is deeply upsetting not only for the two teams but women in sport in general" and highlighted the fact that the boys' provincial final is being played.

Shannon made the comments in a letter to the Green Party's Catherine Martin who is Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport & the Gaeltacht.

She said: "This decision, made by the LGFA, is deeply upsetting not only for the two teams but women in sport in general as it shows that men once again are given priority over us, even when if right was right, the All-Ireland would have precedence over the Leinster final. This decision doesn’t give much hope to us or the generations of girls in sport yet to come as it appears that these notions apparently will never change."

"This is our school's first ever Senior All-Ireland to ever be in, and will be the greatest sporting achievement many of us will ever have, and one of the most high profile games in the country as it is the two best girls senior secondary school Gaelic teams in the country playing.

"We were all heartbroken as all of our hard work throughout the year seemed to go to waste. We have also tried to get the decision made by the LGFA changed but unfortunately it hasn’t worked. However since then we have progressed to the stages of reopening the country and we are due to head into Phase 4 on August 10th. As of now we have resumed contact training and challenge matches with our clubs and our club championships are beginning in the next two weeks. In light of this I see no reason as to why this one match, this one All-Ireland final, probably one of the most important sporting moments of our lives, cannot be played, especially since the boys Leinster final is going ahead.

"There are only two differences between our game and the boys game: 1. Theirs is a Leinster final, ours is an All-Ireland final; and 2. They are boys, we are girls.

"The fact that being a girl means that we don’t get treated the same or get the same opportunities as our male counterparts in life and in sport is honestly so disappointing.

"As I’m sure you Catherine Martin, as Minister for Sport, does not support nor stand for sexism and discrimination in sport, that you will do something about the decision to not have our All-Ireland played, since we are already back playing and training with our clubs, and that the boys Leinster final is going ahead. I will be waiting anxiously for a response as I’m sure you, as much as ourselves, would like to see justice for women not only in sport, but in general."

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