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'The GAA Team Actually Don't Want You To Present The Boys With The Medals'

'The GAA Team Actually Don't Want You To Present The Boys With The Medals'
By Mark Farrelly Updated

How many All-Irelands must a woman win before she's held in the same regard as her male counterparts? Well for some, it would seem that 18 isn't enough anyhow, as Rena Buckley revealed when she told an alarming story about a medal presentation she was asked to take part in last year.

Speaking at the launch of the 20x20 campaign, a movement aimed at increasing the media coverage, attendances and involvement in female sport by 20% by 2020, the Cork GAA legend explained what happened when she was asked to present medals at an underage function in west Cork.

The boys and girls had come together and they had won the u14 championship in ladies football and the u12s in boys, so they asked me to come down and present the medals.

I went along and when I got down there on the night, the lad who invited me took me aside and said "Look we're really sorry but the GAA team actually don't want you to present the boys with the medals."

Why on earth this was decided is difficult to comprehend but Buckley kept her composure and presented the girls with their medals. The boys ended up with someone else. Someone who most definitely did not have 18 All-Ireland medals to their name: "They got some local guy to do it. He was absolutely mortified, he could hardly look at me - he was really embarrassed."

This tale is just one of many that highlights the discrimination faced by women in sport. For Buckley it's something that she doesn't see often but served as a stark reminder of how, in some corners, we still have a long way to go. "That's just the mindset of whoever is organising that, so we're looking for a shift in that. That's a rare thing now but it does happen. That was 2017, it wasn't 1986."

The 20x20 campaign launch featured a number of interesting discussions and presentations from women involved in sport. All of the coverage can be followed on Twitter with the hashtags #20X20 #CantSeeCantBe and #ShowYourStripes.

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