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Clifford And O'Hora Say Kerry And Mayo Panels Would Support Gay Players

Pictured are four-time Kerry All-Star David Clifford and Mayo footballer and autism advocate Padraig O’Hora. Sponsors of the GAA All-Ireland Football Championship for a 14th consecutive season, SuperValu were joined by Gaelic Games role models and advocates from across the country in Croke Park today to highlight the role of GAA communities in making Ireland a more diverse, inclusive and welcoming country for all. Photo credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan.
By PJ Browne Updated
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Both Kerry's David Clifford and Mayo's Pádraig O'Hora believe their inter-county GAA squads would be welcoming environments for gay players.

A GPA survey found last year that only 10 per cent of male inter-county players are aware of a teammate who is a member of the LGBTQ+ community. For their female counterparts, that number is 69 per cent.

"You'd like to hope so," said Clifford when asked if he thought GAA dressing rooms would be supportive of a teammate coming out.

"I'll just take my own situation with Fossa and Kerry, you'd feel like you are so close to your teammates, and get on so well with them, that you'd like to be able to support them in whatever comes their way in life.

"100 per cent. I'd be disappointed if a teammate felt like it wasn't a place where they could [come out]."

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12 March 2022; David Clifford of Kerry and Padraig O'Hora of Mayo after the Allianz GAA Football League Division 1 match between Kerry and Mayo at Austin Stack Park in Tralee, Kerry. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

O'Hora added: "I can only speak for my own and I think I can speak for the Mayo dressing room and players and yes, absolutely, there’d be nothing but support.

"There has to be more gay players involved in men’s sport and maybe they’re not comfortable enough coming out.


"Hopefully that changes and they do feel more comfortable but I think the dressing rooms, as they are now, definitely our own, would be a welcoming space.


"I don't know what the barriers are. I think that women are a little bit further ahead. I think it has been more acceptable in society for women to be gay than men in Ireland.

"I'd say we're maybe a couple of years down the tracks from that. Hopefully, that's the case in five years time that it will be a different conversation."

O'Hora believes that the language used in GAA dressing rooms has, in his experience, changed over the past decade. Slurs which were once easily thrown about are less commonplace.


"If I think of when I walked in 11 years ago into a senior dressing, yeah, there has been a significant change - especially in language," said O'Hora.

"It's in learning and understanding too. I'm not judging the guys that have gone before me. They grew up a certain way with certain attitudes and orientations, as we have, as I'm sure the 18 and 19-year-olds are looking at me going, 'He's off the mark'.

"Things continuously develop. Sure, all we can do is go with it. Much like tech, it's hard to keep up. Things are moving in the right direction."


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