Female relations forge stronger bond in the GAA's family
THE integration of the ladies football and camogie associations with the GAA was cemented yesterday when a report from the integration task force was launched.
The aims of the integration task force were to bring all three organisations closer together, but the ladies football and camogie associations will still retain complete autonomy.
The prospect of a ladies football or camogie final being played as a curtain-raiser to an All-Ireland hurling or football final remains as remote as ever, however.
Under the terms of the integration, there will be greater co-operation and liaison between the bodies with the formalising of an alliance which protects autonomy.
Members of camogie and ladies football clubs will become members of the GAA by 2007.
In practical terms, camogie and ladies football will work closely together with the GAA on fixtures and coaching projects by pooling resources and adding additional expertise in all areas.
GAA president Seán Kelly yesterday launched the integration document which followed a pilot scheme in eight counties.
Kelly said integration was already working at club level and there were more ladies and regular GAA matches played on the same ticket in 2004 than ever before as a consequence of that.
"The GAA gets most support from the family and we want to reflect that," he said.
Camogie president Miriam O'Callaghan said the level of support for greater integration at their recent Congress was surprisingly high.
"Twenty years ago that support wouldn't have been there because of fears that we would have been swallowed up by a bigger organisation. But those fears aren't there any more," she said. "There was always goodwill from the GAA but nothing so formalised as this."
Ladies football association president Geraldine Giles also backed the report.