In this week’s Women in Sport Weekly we mourn the loss of a giant in coaching, we question the progress on hearts and minds when looking at the reaction to the Women’s Six Nations being postponed and we highlight a major new deal for one of the stars of the Tennis world.

Each week we will carry a Women in Sport Weekly Column, highlighting stories here in Ireland and around the world that are relevant to the idea that we are only catching up to what is happening elsewhere and that while we may be strong in some areas, there are certainly others where we need to prod and poke to ensure fairness.

That’s all, it’s not a takeover, it’s not at the expense of sport that is there already, it is just recognition that sport should be more conscious of its obligation to the 50.5 per cent of the population that has just as much right and talent to play sport as anyone.





Eamonn Ryan passed away on Thursday at the age of 79. He was perhaps one of the most successful coaches across the whole spectrum of Gaelic Games and certainly in the world of Ladies Football.

He guided Cork to ten TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championships and nine Lidl National League Division 1 titles during his spell in charge from 2004 to 2015.

“Eamonn Ryan was a larger than life character who guided Cork to unprecedented success during his spell in charge,” said Ladies Gaelic Football Association President Marie Hickey.

“Eamonn’s managerial genius was very much to the fore as Cork won five successive TG4 All-Ireland Senior titles from 2005-2009, and another five-in-a-row from 2011-2015, while he was in charge. ”

“During Eamonn’s tenure, Cork were also crowned Division 1 National League Champions on nine occasions. ”

“Eamonn had a unique bond with the players he worked alongside, who all speak of his influence in glowing terms. ”

“Many of us in the LGFA also had the opportunity to get to know Eamonn on a personal level over the course of many years.”

“He joined us on TG4 All Star tours abroad and he was such a personable character, and engaging company.”

“I am deeply saddened to learn of Eamonn’s passing and he leaves behind an incredible legacy.”

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.





The news that the Women’s Six Nations, as well as the U20’s, was being postponed while the Men’s went ahead was made this week on the logical basis that it was much harder to ask amateur players to isolate during a tournament as is the case with the Men, during a time of national lockdown.

The hope and belief is that the tournament will be played but the reaction to the news painted a depressing picture that some minds are not for turning.

There were two themes that kept on coming up. The worst, but thankfully more evident in England than here, was the reaction that ‘who would notice’ and ‘oh, I didn’t realise there was a girls version.’

First, you’d wonder why anyone would put their name to such crass commentary, then you’d fear that there was still a swathe of the public for whom equality just doesn’t feature on their radar at all.

The second theme was that this was a misogynist decision and that there was ‘one law for the men and one for the women.’ This is easier to understand at a baseline level though perhaps reading through the thinking behind it would come to a different conclusion.

The fact that the GAA Championships had all run successfully with amateur sports stars from October to December was raised but none of those games involved flying to another country.

Sadly this was a decision based on the professional vs amateur lines, and that is still an area where there is a longer way to travel than in some.



The success of the Swim Ireland and Sport Ireland Women in Sport Leadership course has continued through lockdown with Fiona Coughlan the latest guest speaker to address the group.

The course, delivered over Zoom on Monday evenings by Lisa Clancy and Sarah O’Shea has seen a total of 70 individuals from across 24 different sports already take part.

This is a great opportunity to learn, network and collaborate with peers from all across the country during this time. There have already been huge strides made by participants from previous courses.

The aim of the course is to provide training, guidance and expertise to support women to thrive in leadership positions in sport.

The interactive practical classes allow each participant to work and focus on their own development while learning from others as part of a team over an extended period.

The next courses will run through February and March and are well worth seeking out. Any NGB’s looking to have someone join the course should contact Trish Mayon @SwimIreland for more details.





US Open Tennis Champion Naomi Osaka has signed a major new deal to be the face of Luis Vuitton. The player is of mixed Japanese and Hawaiian heritage and was a leader in sport’s reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement last year.

While progressing to ultimate victory in Flushing meadow she wore a different face mask through each round, bearing the name of a victim of racial violence.

“Aside from tennis, my most treasured passion is fashion,” said Osaka, “and there is no brand more iconic than Louis Vuitton.”

The new deal follows on from being named as Sports Illustrated’s Sports Person of 2020 and being listed in Time Magazines 100 most influential people of the year.

Now there is a role model to hold up for our young sporting participants of the future.

If you think there is a story around Women in Sport that we should feature please get in touch and let us know.




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