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Cavan Say Strike Action Has 'Crossed Minds' Over Broken Agreement

19 June 2022; Neasa Byrd of Cavan reacts at the final whistle of the TG4 All-Ireland SFC Group A Round 2 match between Cavan and Mayo at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park in Longford. Photo by Ben McShane/Sportsfile
PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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The Cavan ladies footballers say that striking has crossed their minds over an impasse with the county board regarding expenses and playing gear.

"This is not a personal attack on anybody in the Cavan ladies county board," team captain Neasa Byrd told the We Are Cavan podcast.

"Speaking out was really a last resort for us. We feel change needs to happen, and it has to happen soon.

"For Cavan ladies to progress, and make the strides that we are capable of making, we feel like we need to speak out and make the people of Cavan aware of what's really going on.

"Over the last number of months, we've been in a constant battle with our county board over issues such as expenses, gear, and player welfare."

On January 15th, the Cavan panel signed a charter which addressed six areas - physical support, performance support, facilities, nutrition, expenses and gear - and aimed to "establish agreed standards and provisions for the year ahead". Byrd said that the "contract has been broken" by the county board.

The payment of travel expenses for players commuting from Dublin to Breffni Park for training is one of the main points of contention.


"Not necessarily, not what was agreed that night on the charter," said Byrd when asked if players have received expenses so far this year.

"We're in a very different situation this year in that we have 20 players based in Dublin, all between the ages of 18 - 26 with only one player working full-time.

"We had asked the county board that the girls who are driving down on Tuesday nights for training get expenses. One week, girls received €30 for driving down, which was four cars that got €30 [each]. Then the next week, one car drove down and they got €30. Since that, we've received nothing more. Girls are constantly driving down the road, not getting a penny.


"Without these girls at training, we simply have no training mid-week. This week, on Tuesday last, our manager Gerry Moane actually paid for a bus out of his own pocket to come down the road to get the girls from Dublin to bring them to training because we had no other option.

"We've also learnt this week that other members of the management team have been giving girls something to fill their cars with diesel because there's just no other way to get them down the road. Girls can't financially deal with the burden."

19 June 2022; Sherin El Massry of Mayo and Lauren McVeety of Cavan during the TG4 All-Ireland SFC Group A Round 2 match between Cavan and Mayo at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park in Longford. Photo by Ben McShane/Sportsfile

Cavan player Lauren McVeety added up the mileage clocked in her Volkswagen Golf last year. Between trips to training, gym sessions and matches, it totalled 16,783 miles.

"We don't want to make comparisons but we can look to our male counterparts," said Byrd.


"You can see how well they do, and how well they are looked after, and rightly so - we're definitely not taking a hit at them - but we were just saying that if Lauren was to drive from UCD to Breffni Park, and use the 70 cents per mile that the men get, it would be €120. We were happy at the start when the girls were getting €30, which was then pulled from us for absolutely no reason.


"The financial pressure... Girls literally have to weigh up, do I come down the road and put myself under financial pressure or do I not go to training and not play at the weekend then? If you're not at training, the lads can't see how you're performing.

"I would worry, we have so many young girls this year, and the majority of them are in Dublin. I'd hate for a bad experience this year to put them off playing next year."


In hope of resolving the expenses issue for the Dublin-based players, the panel proposed holding a fundraiser in the form of an Easter training camp. It would have had several Cavan senior squad members giving up their time over the Easter holidays to coach young players.

15 June 2019; Aishling Sheridan of Cavan in action against Evelyn McGinley of Donegal during the TG4 Ladies Football Ulster Senior Football Championship semi-final match between Cavan and Donegal at Killyclogher in Tyrone. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

"We're not asking the county board to fork this out of their own pocket," said Aishling Sheridan.

"We have actually asked to do a fundraiser which we will then put that money towards expenses. We were told, 'No'." Byrd added that "no reason has been given" for the refusal.

The provision of gear for the new season has been another issue. Six games into their Division 2 league campaign - in which they have won three and lost three matches - players have only received one pair of shorts and socks. Those were only handed out before the opening round against Armagh.

"We've heard comments back from certain people saying, 'Cavan ladies are all worried about their gear'," said Lauren McVeety.

"We really aren't. When you have new players coming in, and they are coming in their club gear for our challenge games, we look like a disjointed squad, a club team, landing up to play Down. They ran out in a full kit, in a complete uniform. We just looked like an amateur outfit. It was not professional."

'We want to keep seeing Cavan progress'

McVeety added that if the current situation continues she can't see herself playing for Cavan in years to come. This season, they will play in the senior championship after last year winning a relegation playoff against Westmeath to maintain their top tier status.

"Next year is a push, not to mind five years," said Byrd.

"People question why some girls aren't committing - it's very simple.

"This isn't an attack. We want to work together so Cavan ladies football can be as successful as possible. It's not them vs us, and it's never been that way. We want a response from them to get this thing moving and get the bare minimum for the team.

"[The thought of striking] has crossed our minds. It's either that or our management could possibly walk, which we don't want; we would rather strike and keep our management than for them to walk away."

Sheridan said it was "hard to know whether to speak out about this or not because you don't know what way it's going to be received".

"You might have parents listening to this who have children on underage teams who might be like 'I don't want my child involved in that'- that's the last thing we want," she said.

"We want to keep seeing Cavan progress. Maybe now by us speaking out we can solve these problems now so that younger generations, anyone coming through next year and so on, won't have to deal with this. I feel like it's got to the stage now where it's got to be spoken about."

See Also: Louth GAA Chairman Calls Out RTÉ For Lack Of League Coverage

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