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Down camog buoyed by support for equality in women's sport

Catherine McGourty, pictured at Hilltown, Co Down, said she is delighted by the support she has received

THE Down camog at the centre of the GAA sexism row last night said she hoped her experience had highlighted "the inequality that exists" in women's sport in Ireland.

Catherine McGourty also described how she had been buoyed by the support she had received - from both men and women - after speaking publicly of the "sexist" treatment she experienced after winning the Ulster GAA Poc Fada competition.

It came as it was revealed the PE teacher from Kircubbin will now enjoy a trip abroad after a weekly Gaelic games publication offered her a £500 holiday voucher.

But the Ulster camogie captain reiterated her shock that her male counterpart received a skiing holiday for winning, while she was awarded a medal following the tournament on Monday.

"It was never about the holiday, the whole issue was the equality of women in sport because we are being treated differently," she said.

"It's been about highlighting and putting it out there that as women, we train and work as hard as men and should be entitled to the exact same.

"What has happened is like a slap in the face."

Ms McGourty, who plays for Ballycran GAC, took part in the demanding event on Hen Mountain, just outside Hilltown, 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.

Earlier this week Ms McGourty, who picked up the female title after coming out on top with 35 pucks, told the Irish News of her shock at only being awarded a medal.

Both male and female competitors completed the exact same route.

But Ms McGourty last night said she had been taken back by the massive support she has received.

"The phone has been ringing constantly and everything that's on Facebook, Twitter has been absolutely unbelievable," she said.

"It's not just females who have been supportive, it's men too. There's no vendetta against men, it's simply about making things equal.

"The whole issue was equality of women in sport because we are being treated differently, but the story is out there now and it's highlighting the inequality that exists.

"It has also shown me the support that is out there for women in sport. Some people have said that women don't pack out stadiums, but we train and work as hard as men.

"We are looking for more coverage for women's sports, that would help us to raise the profile of camogie and women's football.

"That's the main thing to get out of this, it was never about the holiday, it was about equality."

Ms McGourty has now received a £500 holiday voucher from a GAA publication after her experience was highlighted.

"I don't want it to seem like I am backing down, but it is a fantastic gesture from Gaelic Life and Travel Solutions," she said.

"I was really shocked by it."

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