Today I watched the All-Ireland Camogie Final between Cork and Kilkenny. It was a fantastic game, with great skill on display from both sides and all the high-octane drama you associate with the sport. A great occasion, all in all, and Cork proved worthy winners in the end. This was, however, no thanks to the media coverage, and RTE’s handling of the event in particular.
I tweeted earlier today, wondering why there’s no Up For The Match programme on the eve of the camogie final. I mean, we all *know* the reason, but does it have to be so? The inevitable retort would probably be something along the lines of, “well, the level of interest isn’t there”, or “the game isn’t high-profile enough”. Sorry, but that’s not good enough. The game isn’t high profile enough, you say-do you see how you could easily remedy that? Give the game the platform it deserves, primetime on RTE. If you say the game just isn’t popular enough, don’t let it become a self-fulfilling prophecy when you can do something to rectify that. RTE is the country’s national broadcaster, and unless I’m sorely mistaken, half of this nation is comprised of women.
However, to my mind the greater insult came just after the match, when RTE cut away to an ad break in the middle of Cork captain Anna Geary’s speech. It was an incredibly careless and dismissive gesture on RTE’s part, and as many people on Twitter mused, it simply would not happen to the captain of the winning hurling or men’s football team.
Women’s sport is going from strength to strength in this country, but the disrespect displayed by the media is incredibly damaging. From trite, sexualized, homophobic articles about women’s rugby to blatant disregard from RTE, women in sport are misrepresented and under-served. What does it say to young girls watching at home when the words of a woman who has reached the pinnacle of excellence in her field are deemed less important than advertising revenue? We need to show young girls that their sporting heroes are worthy of equal esteem and adulation to male sports stars. A small paragraph in the sports pages and one match a year on TV won’t cut it anymore. We need to stop taking asinine excuses for the dismal lack of representation. Women deserve better; young girls in particular deserve better.