Ladies boss lashes quarter-final venue choice
'I'm absolutely disgusted,' was the reaction of Wicklow ladies manager Mick O'Rourke to the fixing of the All-Ireland Intermediate quarter-final for the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick on Monday, August 6, at 3pm.
The fixture, announced just yesterday, will bring the Wicklow ladies footballers on a total voyage in four games of 1,758 kilometers and will drastically reduce the amount of supporters who might have travelled to a more suitable venue for the clash with Sligo.
O'Rourke and his management team have worked tirelessly not only to improve the lot of the county team on the pitch but also to increase the coverage of the Garden County team on social media and in this newspaper and he feels that the fixing of this incredibly important game is something of a blow for their efforts and for the supporters.
'I think it's an absolute disgrace to do this to a county who are trying their best to promote ladies football in the county. Wicklow are one of the best supported counties in the country if we are brought to a reasonable venue but to expect people to load up cars with children on a bank holiday weekend and drive to Limerick, and that's not taking into account the increase in costs on the team itself, I think it's very unfair, we've just drawn the short straw by the looks of it.
'I understand it's dictated somewhat by TG4, who in fairness do great work for ladies football, and they can only cover the Monday and because it's not a bank holiday in Northern Ireland they've lumped us in with the Cork and Westmeath game because the Northern teams can't play.
'I've spoken to the Sligo manager about it and he was of the opinion that we can send all the emails we want but that any appeal will fall on deaf ears,' added the Wicklow boss.
O'Rourke is adamant that the Wicklow team must now put the venue choice aside and concentrate on the vital game with Sligo who have welcomed five players back ito their camp since their Connaught final defeat and who defeated Laois more recently.
'Sligo are a good team,' said Mick, 'They would have been favoured to beat roscommon in the Connaught final but they have five players back and they will have added to the team.
'We had an off day against Laois but everything is about progression for us. We won the league this year, got to a Leinster final and are now in the last eight and that is progression for us and I think this group of footballers should be applauded for their sacrifices this year. We had players changing holidays, coming back early from holidays so this group of players should really be applauded.'