Updated Mar 11th 2021, 3:11 PM
DUBLIN CAMOGIE STAR Ali Twomey has spoken about the ongoing challenges she and her team-mates face to play for their county.
Source: Seb Daly/SPORTSFILE
Twomey, who is heading into her 11th season with the Dubs, says there are still issues regarding travel expenses and reveals that she spends up to €100 per month on tolls to attend training.
She also says that food isn’t always available after training, while training gear is not provided to players every year.
“I can’t say it’s great, to be honest,” Twomey says when asked if she has noticed any improvements for players in recent years. She was speaking as part of a wider conversation about the recent merger between the WGPA and the GPA and her hopes of seeing a level playing field in the future that is comparable to what the GAA provides for its players.
“Still we don’t get any expenses for going to training. We don’t always get food after training. We got gear last year but before that, but the year before I don’t think we got much. What you see the lads getting and what we get, there is still a huge difference.
“Girls are starting to put their foot down. In terms of expenses, I’ve been paying €90 – €100 a month in tolls just to go training, before Covid. That’s without petrol or buying food for meal prep or all the other expenses that go with it.
” It is a very expensive hobby, and when you compare it to the lads, it is very disheartening.”
After more than a decade of service to the Dublin jersey, Twomey admits that it’s difficult to remain committed to the cause when the sport is still lacking in these essential areas.
The challenge is heightened all the more for Dublin, given the management upheavals that have occurred in recent times.
Current boss Adrian O’Sullivan is the fourth manager to take charge of the side since David Herity’s departure in 2018. Former Mayo Ladies manager Frank Browne was at the helm for a year before being replaced by John Treacy and Willie Braine in 2019.
The pair stepped down last October after a reported dispute with county board officials over positive Covid-19 cases in the squad. Dublin intermediate boss David Dunning stepped in to replace the duo before O’Sullivan’s appointment was announced back in January.
Adrian O’Sullivan [file photo].
Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO
“To be honest, as time goes on, it is tough to stay motivated,” says Twomey whose Dublin side bowed out of the All-Ireland senior championship at the group stage last year.
“Obviously you do get times where you’re low on motivation, or you get years where you say, ‘Oh, I can’t go back, it’s too much commitment.’ But, at the end of the day, you just love the sport; you want to play; and that’s what always brings me back, that I just absolutely love playing and it’s all I want to do.
“It is hard to keep motivated, to keep really upbeat about the situation when you do see what the lads are getting compared to what we’re getting. But that’s kind of out of our hands, as such. It’s something that … higher up something needs to be done, there needs to be more respect for what we do as players and as people.
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“I think that’s something that is up to higher up to sort out – it’s not really in our hands.”
The team have yet to meet O’Sullivan and his management team in person due to the restrictions. It’s certainly unusual to be communicating exclusively on video calls, with Twomey also pointing out that this is how everyone is meeting the new members of the panel.
But she insists that having a consistent management unit in place is key for Dublin heading into the 2021 season.
“That’s something we have brought up as a team. We do need settled management in terms of being able to gel as a team and to grow. The last time we had management for longer than two years, we got to a semi-final, so it shows that there is potential there when there is structure in place and we do have time to grow. So it is really hard to grow as a team when there is chopping and changing.
“Not only does the management change, but the panel and the team and the set-up and the game-plans, everything changes with it. It’s like starting from scratch all over again.”
Ali Twomey was speaking at the launch of the new virtual AIG Health Plus portal which offers free membership at www.aig.ie/dubgym for all Dublin GAA club players and members to a unique physiotherapy-led fitness and health online resource that includes virtual gym membership.