Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sport and obesity in women

Derval O Rourke, Irish hurdler
So it seems we have a few new readers - thanks to a radio slot I did with Newstalk's Global Village programme on Saturday night chatting about women in sport. Welcome :)

It was as they say 'a wide-ranging discussion' taking in everything from transport to obesity. That last one was the piece I ended up most exercised - excuse the dreadful pun - about. 

Did you know that in Ireland the group with the highest levels of obesity are women over 50? A very worrying piece of research

This clearly links into the gender-divisions around sport. Women who don't do sport will get away with it for a certain number of years but after 50 clearly it all catches up with you. And we're not talking here about getting out and joining an elite level boxing club or something, just simply taking a walk or going for a swim.

I would also point this back at the funding bodies - a report found over half of all funding to sports goes to three sports - GAA, rugby and soccer - that women just don't like playing in the same numbers as men. 

There is a lot of work being done to change this, but is it enough?

Monday, February 27, 2012

6Nations Ireland's women win over Italy

Great weekend of sport (ignoring the other awful things happening in the world for a moment) and I was lucky enough to watch the Irish women's rugby team defeating Italy by 40 points on 10.

I talked to the captain Fiona Coughlan, manager Gemma Crowley and coach Philip Doyle as well as some very excited fans from Portlaoise rugby club and Blackrock college ... and some sad Italians.

Thanks to Edd Kealy at NearFm for editing this under serious time pressure!


Friday, February 24, 2012

Coming soon to a blog near you

A quiet blogging week due to a hectic off-line time, apologies to everyone who has popped in for a look.But there are some exciting interviews coming soon to a blog near you ...

Starting with interviews with the Irish rugby team - fingers crossed for a win tonight against Italy so they'll be in a good mood for talking - and Irish MMA fighter Aisling Day, as well as English windsurfer Amy Carter and the boxers behind American gym Striking Beauties. I'll be uploading some interviews I did for 'Irish Fighter' magazine as soon as the March issue hits the stands: South African fighter Ferial Ameeroedien - based in Dublin - and her stablemates Kelly Creegan and Frenchwoman Cecile Chemin.

These interviews and a few more including some print articles on funding for women's sport in Ireland will be trickling through in the next few weeks. Tomorrow night I'm taking part in a radio-panel discussing women's sports so if I can get a recording of that will upload it, should be interesting.

In the meantime have a great weekend, and enjoy this inspiring piece on women in sport from the International Olympic Committee!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Turtles

Was delighted to see a mention of  surfer Easkey Britton's art the other day here.

Wordless Wednesday blogging with photos once a week

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Playing with pride

It's hard to explain the thrill of camogie or hurling to people who haven't seen it. Talk of crunching ash sticks, a rock-hard leather ball and 15 women racing against each other to mix the two into a scoreline can sound more like a melee than a sport. But listen to these girls from a Dublin team talking about their sport to Liam Nolan and you'll get a clearer idea ...

Doco on One: Playing with Pride 


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Time to change rugby kick-off times?

Irish scrum-half Larissa Muldoon

Well, at least one Ireland vs France rugby match took place this weekend. The Irish women's team were in action but lost out to France 8-7. 

And while a loss is heart-breaking, at least they got to finish this time. Last weekend they played Wales at home in Co Meath but the match was stopped at half-time because the ground was frozen. The match against the French was played in freezing temperatures but in the afternoon so less chance of the ground being hard.

For those of you not following the Six Nations rugby tournament, I should explain there's been a trend in recent years - for men's and women's games - to play matches at 8pm or even 9pm. It doesn't make a lot of sense in February which is the middle of our winter but we got away with in in other years.

This tournament has seen a men's match cancelled - Ireland vs France - and women's matches either called off or moved back to the afternoon.

I understand it's important to balance the access to television for all the games across the groups but maybe a little re-thinking is called for here?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Congratulations to the paracyclists!

Congratulations to Irish para-cycling team of Catherine Walsh and Fran Meehan on taking the gold medal at the UCI World Paracycling Track Championships this weekend!

I got a lovely, understated email from Fran, simply saying: "Catherine and I won the gold". What more do you need? They won the pursuit event, details here. Delighted to  hear it, as Catherine had told me when I interviewed her before Christmas that winning the gold was her main aim. And what  a great prepartion for the London Para Olympics 2012.

Fran Meehan (front) and para-cyclist Catherine Walsh


Monday, February 6, 2012

Irish amateur boxing championships

Ceire Smith, 51 kgs champ
The remaining two women's title-bouts took place this weekend in Dublin's National Stadium. And of course there was an extra frisson of excitement because three of the winners will move onto the Olympic qualifying tournament in China.

The three Olympic hopefuls are Katie Taylor, 60kgs (unopposed in her division), Ceire Smith, 51kgs and Sinead Kavanagh at 75kgs. There is only one qualifier for women so the pressure is really on the three of them now, especially Taylor as many people here in Ireland have already decided she's won the gold! 

The other women's titles went to: 
48kgs: Lynne McEnery 
54Kg: Michelle Lynch
57Kg: Michaela Walsh
60Kg: Carla Wright
64Kg: Sarah Close
69Kg: Claire Grace
81Kg: Lauragh O'Neill 

How are the Olympic qualifiers going in your sports?


Friday, February 3, 2012

Achieving dreams in the UAE

A reminder that stereotypes about Muslim women are just that ...

The tournament started yesterday in the UAE

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

When they banned soccer ...

women soccer football banned liverpool
Dick Kerr Ladies Vs St Helen's Ladies 1920

So just when you think you've heard it all when it comes to things men do to stop women playing sport, you hear another story. A ban on women's soccer anyone? I posted about the ban in Brazil a few months back, and was told this week I could add England to the list.

By 1921, the fledgling game of women's soccer was becoming very popular in the UK - a crowd of over 50,000 jammed a Liverpool stadium for a match in December 1920 and the crowds signalled a surge in interest to rival that in the men's game. But it seems that didn't go down too well with the organising body. The 50-year (oh yes) ban they imposed in July 1921 was a huge setback to the sport's development. No wonder the British teams still struggle to get support with that backdrop. 

According to this Guardian story, part of the ban read: "the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged". Lovely.

Thanks to Brendan Dowling from the Irish Martial Arts Commission (IMAC) for dropping that titbit into an interview with me. I think he was trying to make me see how far women's sport has come! I think ...

That documentary on the Brazilian ban is here. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: MuayThai shorts

There's healthy eating and then there's a boxer's reality 

Wordless Wednesday blogging with photos once a week!