A late boost for women’s sport
The future of women’s sport – professional and amateur – has never looked brighter and this weekend will highlight the best in a variety of codes, while news that IRFU is on the point of giving professional contracts to our 15 women internationals are finally approving something that should have been done a long time ago.
The Irish women’s rugby team have posted fantastic results in recent years, but their shock exit from the World Cup qualifying process in New Zealand later this year has sparked a revolt from players followed by independent scrutiny women’s game here.
The findings of this review led the IRFU to accept each of the report’s recommendations and, in turn, yesterday’s announcement that the union will confirm more than 40 professional contracts for the Irish women’s and sevens teams.
Previously, only sevens players were under contract.
Ireland are the latest of the Women’s Six Nations countries to offer their players professional contracts and this move is needed if the game is to thrive here. It is long overdue.
Women’s sport is booming right now and one of the big sporting successes of the summer was the 2022 UEFA European Women’s Championships in England which drew huge crowds and viewers.
In football terms, Sunday’s final between England and Germany will not only bring back memories of the England men’s success in the 1966 World Cup, when they beat Germany 4-2, but will show a huge incongruity if England win.
‘Football coming home’ has been a cliché for years as England’s men’s teams struggle to win a major championship and there would be something delightfully ironic if they were beaten to that feat by their women’s counterparts on Sunday .
Sunday will also see the final action for junior, intermediate and senior players in the Women’s Gaelic Football Championships at Croke Park, with Antrim taking on Fermanagh in junior, Laois meeting Wexford in intermediate and Kerry taking on Meath in senior. A good week for women’s sport.