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Woman can do top job: O'Neill

LIAM O'NEILL believes the time could well come when the GAA elects a first female president.

The current Uachtarán is full-square behind a drive to unite all five Gaelic units and all six sports – football, hurling, camogie, women's football, handball and rounders – under the one GAA umbrella.

O'Neill isn't putting a timescale on any proposed unification, stressing that "if this was easy, it'd already be done", but he believes it could happen more quickly than some people realise.

"In the time I started talking about more co-operation between the three field organisations and also getting people to support the notion of fielding more handball and rounders teams, the feedback I have gotten is so positive that I pushed the boundaries out.

"We started talking of the five organisations under one banner promoting six sports," the president explained, after Liberty Insurance were confirmed as the first ever joint sponsors of the All-Ireland senior hurling and camogie championships.

"So far not one person – male or female – has said it can't be done. It is happening at club level and the clubs are a little bit ahead of central level on this.

He said: "If it can be managed at club level, it can be managed at national level and the benefits of that are enormous.

"You could see a situation in the future, as I was asked last year, could you have a female president? And in that scenario the answer is 'yes'."

He added that the GAA could currently elect a female president but added: "It'd be more possible in the other scenario. The key to unification was 'one common membership and a positive statement of intent from the five organisations'.

"Already we have handball and rounders under the roof."

O'Neill expanded: "The opportunities for expansion are huge. If at some stage in the future we were promoting the games equally, you could have a situation where – ultimately – you could play a camogie final ahead of the All-Ireland hurling final and the ladies football final ahead of (the All-Ireland football final)."

FIXTURES

SATURDAY

CHRISTY RING RD 2A (ex-time if necess)

Tralee: Kerry v Derry, 1.0, P Casey (Waterford). Newbridge: Kildare v Meath, 4.15, F Horgan (Tipperary)

ROUND 2B

Arklow: Wicklow v Mayo, P O'Dwyer (Carlow). Crossmaglen: Armagh v Down, 3.0, E Hasson (Derry)

NICKY RACKARD CUP (ex-time if necess)

ROUND 2

Carrickmore: Tyrone v Monaghan, 3.0, G Duffy (Antrim). Athleague: Roscommon v Donegal, 3.0, D O'Driscoll (Limerick)

LORY MEAGHER CUP ROUND 2

Brewster Park: Fermanagh v Warwickshire, 1.0, J Clarke (Cavan). Pearse Park: Longford v Leitrim, 3.0, S Cleere (Kilkenny)

LEINSTER MFC Q-FINALS (ex-time if necess)

Newbridge: Offaly v Kildare, 2.0, R Malone (Dublin). Parnell Park: Dublin v Wexford, 7.0, S Johnson (Louth). Mullingar: Westmeath v Wicklow, 3.0, B Cawley (Kildare). Portlaoise: Laois v Meath, 3.0, F Barry (Kildare).


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