#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 14°C Thursday 29 October 2020

6 things that are actually true* about Irish women in sport

*Unlike that whole Ladyball thing.

OKAY, OKAY. LISTEN. Time to come clean.

For the past week, Ladyball has been the word on everyone’s lips. A “softer, smaller and pink ball for ladies’ GAA…” Well, it’s safe to say reaction was mixed, as the Ladyball prompted anger, bafflement and just sheer disbelief.

Disbelief was the right option, because the Ladyball doesn’t exist.

It was all about putting the spotlight on women in sport in Ireland and raising awareness of the difficulties female sportspeople have in getting the same recognition as their male counterparts.

But doesn’t it just tell you something – that the only time we ever hear about Irish women in sport is in relation to Twitter outrage over a fake product? Where is that passion and support for female sportspeople the rest of the year? Why aren’t more people talking about Irish women in sport?

Many of Ireland’s finest sportspeople and athletes are women. Let’s move the focus from Ladyball onto their achievements – and keep it there long-term.

1. Briege Corkery and Rena Buckley

Cork’s Briege Corkery and Rena Buckley have more senior All-Ireland titles than any other Irish athlete – each have 16 (ten in ladies’ football, six in camogie).

Rena Buckley and Briege Corkery Cork's Rena Buckley and Briege Corkery who were named joint winners of the Irish Times/ Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Year award for 2015 Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

2. Annalise Murphy

A sailor, Murphy was the first woman to win the Irish National Championships in her category in 2010. She competed and came fourth in the 2012 Summer Olympics in Women’s Laser Radial class, after four days of coming in first and had the whole country holding their breath during the race. She also won gold at the 2013 European Championships in Dublin.

Annalise Murphy Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

3. Leona Maguire

From Cavan, Maguire is the world’s number one women’s amateur golfer, and was also named Irish Golf Writers’ Women’s Amateur of the Year for 2015. And the best part? She’s only 21 years old. FORE!

Leona Maguire Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

4. Ireland’s female rugby team

Ever heard anyone say “Ireland has never beaten New Zealand in rugby”? Feel free to set them straight: our women’s rugby team have.

Source: World Rugby/YouTube

5. Chloe Magee

At the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, Chloe Magee became the first ever Irish woman to win a badminton match at the Olympics. She is currently ranked 44th in the world and in contention to represent us again this summer.

Chloe Magee Magee in action in her match against Natalia Koch Rhode of Denmark Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

6. Our Olympic hopefuls

And finally, here’s a list of all of the female participants in the forthcoming 2016 Olympic Games. You may not know their names now, but you’ll be shouting them come August. (NB – this is just a list of those who have qualified so far – more could still fit the requirements come the start of the tournaments. Let us know in the comments if we’ve missed anyone.)

  • Kerry O’Flaherty – 3,000m steeplechase
  • Sara Treacy – 3,000m steeplechase
  • Michelle Finn - 3,000m steeplechase
  • Breege Connolly – Marathon
  • Tori Pena – Pole vault
  • Fiona Doyle – 1oom breaststroke
  • Aoife Clarke – part of the 4 person Irish Equestrian team
  • Annalise Murphy – Laser Radial

National favourite (and hero) Katie Taylor is also expected to be there, but has to get through the Women’s World Championships in boxing next month first.

Katie Taylor celebrates winning olympic gold Katie winning Olympic gold Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Who’s your favourite Irish woman in sport? Let us know in the comments below. Big up to all the talented female sports players and fans reading.

Lidl and the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) will next week announce details of a partnership which will see the brand become the Official Retail Partner to the LGFA and the title sponsors of the Lidl Ladies National Football League. We’re going to do our best to support Irish women playing camogie and football in any way we can – and make sure everyone else does too. 

Source: LidlIreland/YouTube

Sponsored by:


Read next: