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Thursday 14 November 2019

'We need more women sports coaches' - Cliodhna

Cliodhna O’Connor wants female role models
Cliodhna O’Connor wants female role models

All-Ireland-winning Dublin footballer Cliodhna O'Connor wants more women to get into sports coaching.

Cliodhna, who played for Naomh Mearnog and the Dublin senior ladies' football team, picking up awards for her performances as Dublin goalkeeper in 2004 and 2009, said it was important for young women to have role models in coaching positions.

"We have to back ourselves a bit more," she said. "If we see there's a coaching job we should go for it, especially if it's a women's team."

She was speaking after a survey found 74pc of Irish adults believed female coaches were role models for young women, while only 18pc said they had seen an increase in professional female coaches.

"Traditionally, it's been male-dominated," said Cliodhna (35), who went into coaching after her playing career.

Elite

"If I go to a coaching conference with 100 people in the room, maybe there would be five of us there."

The situation was changing at grass-roots level, she added, but female coaches at the elite level were still few.

While 40pc of respondents to the survey, carried out by RedC for Liberty Insurance, said all professional male sports teams should be required to interview at least one female candidate for the position of coach or manager if one was available, Cliodhna said she was not convinced of this.

"I'm not sure where I stand on positive discrimination. It's about competency," she said.

Rena Buckley, the retired Cork dual star who made history by winning 18 All-Ireland medals, was also unsure about positive discrimination, but strongly supported the call for more women coaches.

"There's a lot of research done in business, as well as in sport. Having diversity there can lead to better decision making," she said.

A symposium on women in sport is being hosted by Liberty Insurance today.

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