by Laura Burke
Last week, the Ladies Gaelic Football Association announced that the Lidl National Football League Division 1 match between Dublin and Mayo would be played at Croke Park at 5pm, preceding the GAA Allianz League match between Dublin and Roscommon at 7pm.
This announcement meant that history would be made as this was the first Ladies National Football League match ever to take place in Croke Park.
Ladies supporters and footballers, notably Cora Staunton, who often speaks out on the importance of equality and opportunity for Ladies footballers, have been calling for a double headed fixture like this one for years.
In a recent interview with the Indepedent, Staunton said ‘’Obviously it’s a great step, this is something we have been pushing for, what ladies football has been pushing for, to get these games in front of men’s games.’’
‘It should be happening more often, and we should be playing before the Mayo men in McHale Park more often. I can’t remember a time when that’s happened but it should be happening every weekend. It’s the best way to promote the ladies game.’’ she continued.
The fixture announcement delighted many around the country, especially Cora who made her return to Croke Park picking up an impressive personal tally of 1-6 in a fine display.
The game did not disappoint onlookers as Mayo ran out one point winners, 1-11 to Dublin’s 1-10 in a close and exciting contest.
Dublin led by 0-5 to 0-3 at half time but scored 1-4 during an outstanding ten minute spell in the second half.
It looked like both sides would share the points as the game approached the end but Staunton had other ideas as she landed a last minute free to secure all three points for her Mayo side.
An array of talent and class was present on the pitch at Croke Park on Saturday and credit must go to the LGFA, the GAA, Croke Park and LIDL for negotiating and allowing this fixture to take place.
We need more fixtures like this one in our great ladies game and hopefully in the not so distant future, these type of fixtures will be the norm.