'Nobody should be out of pocket for representing their county' - Ephie Fitzgerald wants closer LGFA ties with GAA
Cork ladies football manager Ephie Fitzgerald has welcomed the news that this year's All-Ireland senior semi-finals will be played in Croke Park and called for closer ties with the GAA to help cover expenses incurred by players around the country..
"You don't get the crowds at matches, which is disappointing, but the venues and coverage TG4 gives are second to none really so there's no complaints about any of that," Fitzgerald said.
"Obviously the (Women's) World Cup was a special event and that, but the crowds at that were massive to be fair. But I do think we just need that bit of support, and it goes back to that question, 'should we be affiliated with the GAA?'.
"From the point of view of expenses for the players and the fact that we don't get crowds at matches, it's not feasible to give girls expenses if the money isn't there for it. So that's something that definitely needs to be looked at. But I do think the way forward for me would be an affiliation with the GAA here and that the games will be played before men's games."
Fitzgerald agreed that interest in women's sport is growing but warned that, outside of the All-Ireland final, games remain poorly attended.
"I do think it's improving, but I don't think it will ever get to the stage where you'll have 10,000 at a ladies match. The women don't follow sport as much as they should do in my opinion. Ladies need to support ladies first.
"If you go to any of our league matches, and obviously we are one of the more successful teams, if there's 100 people there it's a lot, and they are home matches for us.
"It's normally parents and a few friends and that, so I don't see any future like that for our girls. But I suppose the big issue with the time and effort girls are putting in now is, nobody should be out of pocket for representing their county."