Support for Down camog who accused GAA of sexism

Down's Catherine McGourty competing in the Ulster GAA Poc Fada on Hen Mountain on Monday
Down's Catherine McGourty competing in the Ulster GAA Poc Fada on Hen Mountain on Monday

SUPPORT was growing last night for a Down camog who accused the GAA of sexism following the disparity between the winning prizes for men and women at a major tournament.

And co-organisers, the Camogie Association said it favoured that camogie prizewinners "would be placed on a par with their hurling counterparts".

Questions have been raised about why the female winner of the Ulster GAA Poc Fada was only given a medal, while her male counterpart walked away with a skiing holiday.

Catherine McGourty, this year's Ulster camogie team captain, told The Irish News yesterday of her shock at the GAA's "sexist" treatment of women in the competition.

But her experience has prompted much support on social media with users hitting out at the way she has been treated.

One man said it had been "shocking" the way that Ms McGourty had been treated.

The PE teacher from Kircubbin, Co Down took part in the demanding event on Hen Mountain, just outside Hilltown, on Monday where the male and female provincial champions were crowned.

After completing the course in 25 pucks, Patrick McKillion from Tyrone claimed the senior men's title and won a medal, trophy and a skiing holiday.

But Ms McGourty, who picked up the female title after coming out on top with 35 pucks, was only awarded a medal.

Ms McGourty, who plays for Ballycran GAC, said the women completed the exact same route as the men and was she disappointed at how they were treated.

She said "it came as a shock that they can do this. It's totally sexist".

One woman last night wrote on Facebook: "Well done to Paddy McKillon but really disgraceful the way Catherine McGourty was treated".

A male Twitter user wrote: "Shocking treatment of Catherine McGourty and all participating camógs by @UlsterGAA and @officialgaa".

Another man added: "Feel for Catherine McGourty, disappointing from the GAA".

A female Twitter user wrote that she was "sick of girls being treated with less respect and equality", while another man added that the issue "should be rectified ASAP".

In a statement on Tuesday, Ulster Camogie said the men's prize was organised by the GAA centrally along with two sponsors.

"The Central GAA in conjunction with two sponsors organised a prize for the Senior Men's Poc Fada winner and this falls outside the remit of the Camogie Association and the Ulster bodies," it said.

However, the GAA last night responded and a spokesman said it was not "our duty" to organise the prizes for the female winner, adding they they were only responsible for the men's and under-16 rewards.

"It wouldn't be our duty to organise the prizes for the Camogie Association, that is for them to do. It does not fall under our remit," he said.

"There was no slight meant either in what has happened."

A spokeswoman for the Camogie Association said they were not made aware of the new commercial arrangements.

The organisation said it was not made aware of the plans - which provided the 2015 Provincial Poc Fada winners with a holiday prize - "until a number of days before the Ulster Poc Fada competition took place".

"It is our strong preference that the camogie participants in the Provincial Poc Fada series would be placed on a par with their hurling counterparts," said the spokeswoman.

"A solution to remedy this, for all provincial Camogie winners, is currently under active consideration by the Camogie Association."