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GAA campaign a load of pink ladyballs – and bang on target

As someone who has never done pink and has never done lady, despite having no GAA credentials I'm with the view that the pink ladyball campaign is a cunning plan to raise awareness and get everyone talking writes Nuala McCann

The Ladyball campaign drew criticism on social media before users realised it was revealed as a clever marketing ploy thought up by The Ladies Gaelic Football Association and sponsors Lidl

THE GAA pink ladyball campaign was outrageous. I loved it. Play like the lady you are, went the slogan and there was a great load of tongue-in-cheek about how ladies needing a softer ball that would enhance natural feminine abilities and make it easier to play.

Ah, the beautiful Irish game for us slow learners. The beauty of it all was nobody really knew whether it was a joke or was it serious. They have to be joking.

As someone who has never done pink and has never done lady, despite having no GAA credentials I’m with the view that it’s a cunning plan to raise awareness and get everyone talking – and it worked.

The word 'lady' is balls for a start. The world lady is up there with the “lovely girls competition” from Father Ted, with all that was wrong with certain distasteful old Irish ways – those were the days, when Irish men put the Pat in patronising.

Perhaps, it is a generational thing. Some people think it is a compliment. A lady is a delicate China ornament – always polite, immaculate in dress and manners and everything that is feminine. She probably does not nick her husband’s socks from the drawer.

“Who notices, they’re tucked up in me boots?” I tell him.

“I do,” he replies mournfully.

“I’ve got another pair just like this at home,” I’d joke with the security man in the airport when I have to remove said boots and reveal the stripy sock and the blue sock to the world... well it looks like the world when you’re standing in that queue taking off your boots and belt.

But that is probably why he – my other half and not the security man – bought me 20 pairs of pink and blue and frilly socks for Christmas.

Other reasons why I am not a lady have to do with mixing with tough-talking journalists for too long and having a tongue that would, my mother assures me, “Have your father spinning in his grave”.

I’d never have started cursing when he was alive but over the past 30 years, it comes in handy as a source of instant stress relief and it is cheaper than a meditation course.

Some people get red in the face and shout down the phone at total strangers in call centres far far away who don’t have the English to go to the place that never freezes over because they just don’t understand; some people hang their fiddle behind the door – street angel, house devil.

Me? When I feel the red mist descending, I go into the kitchen, throw a few plates and use a few choice curses – everything but the c word. I’m far too much of a lady for that – oops, woman.

I’m no lady and, I don’t do pink GAA lady footballs.

Pink was a forbidden colour in my childhood. I had red curly hair which, in the days before political correctness when teachers could get away with walloping you with two rulers sellotaped together meant that I was called “belisha beacon” in the classroom.

My mother loved my hair, but she resisted dressing me in pink or red. This, the style gurus of the 60s claimed, clashed with my colouring and hair.

I grew up avoiding pink at all costs. But it was a love hate thing.

My best friend’s mum once gave me a pair of bright scarlet knickers for my birthday – I think I was seven. And I loved them. I truly loved them. It was the forbidden nature of the gift.

The only chance the street got of seeing them was when I got mad, raging bull mad. In those days my father was very much alive and a long time away from spinning in his grave and cursing was totally out of the question. I was only seven.

Instead, I’d do a bit of yelling, then dash out to the garden and perform three cartwheels and a five-minute handstand, red knickers in the air.

Olga Korbut, eat your heart out.

Since then, I have grown up and know that, honestly, I can wear pink and bright red whenever I bloody well like, but my mother was right.

Read that again, mother... yes, you were right.

I do not suit red. I shall never suit red. Wear a coat of that hue and someone will come along and try to stick a letter in my mouth.

Pink is out too. And being a lady is out.

But thank you, GAA women – I ain't calling you ladies: it’s a word with shackles.

Your pink ladyball advertising campaign scored, it went viral and, above all, it gave me a laugh.

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