Club na mBan
Highlighting the role of women in Gaelic Games
The GAA is the largest voluntary sporting organisation in the world. With approximately 1.2 million members and a central role in villages, towns and cities nationwide and globally, the GAA is expanding and evolving each year. Hand in hand with the running of any such organisation is the immense need for support and participation from the entire community.
Focusing on women and Gaelic games – those who spend their lives on both the sidelines as supporters and on pitches as players; mothers who spend countless evenings driving from match to match, club members who sit on various committees, women who make sandwiches week in, week out and the players who sacrifice everything for their sport. We go beyond the playing field, the dressing room and the clubhouse to examine the role and the collective experience of Irish women in 2016.
Alma Kavanagh is a former inter-county player who is about to turn 40. She plays a major role in her local club St. Eunan’s in Letterkenny – she organises Bingo each week in the clubhouse, she helps with the club shop and with the gates on match days and is highly involved in fundraising events for the club. This year, Alma is back training – this time she’s not doing it for her club or for her county but for herself. ‘Weight just creeps up on you and it’s tough to shift it’. Juggling her life as a principal with her role in the club and her home life, Alma is taking on her biggest challenge to date.
Volunteer schedules, safety notices, petty cash floats, insurance forms, team accommodation; Michelle Ní Mhurchú, Club Secretary of Naomh Abán GAA club, has a lot on her plate. This year her club in Ballyvourney, Co. Cork is hosting the Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta. Not only are Michelle and her fellow club members preparing for the massive event, she, along with her friend Ruth and their teammates, are training tirelessly for the competition. Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta – a weekend of sport, putting community spirit and Pride of place to the fore – none of which can go ahead without first setting up the portaloos.
We will look at the journey of some of the country’s top athletes from club matches to Croke Park, through the stories of Cork’s Rena Buckley and Dublin’s Sinéad Finnegan. Since 2005, Rena has won 16 All-Ireland medals for camogie and football. In the lead up to the 2016 LGFA All-Ireland Final, Rena and the Cork team hope to add to their already outstanding record. Like Rena, Sinéad Finnegan is an inter-county player who gives everything to her sport, unlike Rena, Sinéad has not won an All-Ireland medal … yet. What do the lives of these busy athletes look like? How do they balance their hectic work lives with their sporting commitments?
Through these exceptional stories, we will look at the story of today’s Irish women; motherhood, the aging process, female identity in society and work-life balance. The series will meet women from Cork to Donegal, from Dublin to Galway – all unique stories with one common bond – Gaelic games.