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Sporting women fueling patriotism

Off the fence

Sporting women fueling patriotism

Off the fence
Lisa Needham

St Patrick’ Day, like clockwork, brings about the celebration of national pride in each corner of the country. This year, the Irish Rugby Women’s team also had a vibrant reason to be exceptionally proud as they reached a milestone achievement.
The heroines secured a historic RBS Six Nations Grand Slam victory for the first time by edging out Italy on a score line of 6-3 in muddy Milan on Paddy’s Day.
Previous to this Ireland had never finished higher ranked than third in the tournament. This victory was testament to their Triple Crown win earlier this month by defeating England,Wales and Scotland.
An effort of grit, guts and glory was combined to deliver an impressive sporting success for a previously unknown group of sporting ladies, while in contrast the men’s side slumped to their worst ever Six Nations campaign since the late 1990s after a defeat against Italy.
But the truth remains that most of us could not name any of the women’s team nor would many of us recognise them if we met them in the street.
However, all the men’s team names would roll of most of our tongues in an instant and this is of course due to the fact that their every move is covered by our national media.
It is an unfortunate reality that women in most sports are not operating on a level playing field when it comes to media exposure.
But no one can deny the fact that the women’s team have brought silverware home to Irish shores which can be nothing except a positive addition to our global sporting reputation.
They were given a lot of technical backing by the IRFU in their campaign and this will surely promote the growth of women’s rugby in Ireland further down the line, with the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup just around the corner.
This grand slam triumph of a performance highlights the increasing success and development of women in all sports here in Ireland. Their success will contribute to increasing participation of women in sporting activities and will help gain the recognition and applause that women’s sport is well due.
With recent impressive performances like that of Gold Medallist Boxer Katie Taylor in the London Olympics and European Gold Medallist Fionnuala Britton in the Cross-Country Championships, the appreciation of women’s achievements in a wide range of sports is increasing and these women symbolise the type of role models that young girls should admire in irish society.
In the present economic climate, all achievements be it big and small, of both men and women representing their club, county and country should be recognised and used as a positive and creditable example to fuel inspiration for today’s youth, who are after all the future that will drive the country into brighter years ahead.

Lisa Needham is a 5th Year Student at Sancta Maria College in Louisburgh and was on work experience with The Mayo News.