The schism in Mayo ladies football has been ongoing for months at this stage. It’s a row that has become increasingly bitter and divisive as each new damaging development has occurred. Over the past week the blows being landed by both sides have come thick and fast, neither of them holding back, both seemingly intent on wounding the other to the maximum extent with every strike they land.
I’ve deliberately kept away from the furore here on the blog. Ladies football rarely gets too much coverage here at the best of times – I’ve only so much Mayo GAA-related bandwidth at my disposal and covering LGFA action in anything more than a cursory way simply isn’t possible for me – and these quite clearly aren’t the best of times within Mayo LGFA. My thinking has been that giving the row airtime here wasn’t likely to be of any help and could just make matters worse.
I’m hesitant, to be honest, about saying anything on it now. I’ve no idea about the rights and wrongs involved – though, as is invariably the case in life, I suspect there are two valid sides to this particular story – and it’s not my intention here to express any opinion, one way or the other, on what either side has said in the dispute.
Instead, my plea is a simple one. This public slugging match can’t go on. Both sides need to pull back and stop feeding a story which has been elevated to national soap opera status.
The dispute has provided brilliant raw material for the Off The Ball lads, for Colm Parkinson, for RTÉ and for the national media generally and they sure haven’t been slow to lap it all up. The longer both sides keep feeding them new twists to the tale they’ll gladly continue to churn it out for the nation’s delectation.
But who wins by continuing to do this?
It’s transparently clear at this stage that there can be no winners here. Long-term hurt and enduring damage has been caused, rifts have been created that will take years to heal. There’s no happy ending to all this, on either side of the chasm.
What’s been said to date by both sides in the row – and in particular over the last week – can’t be unsaid. Allegations and counter-allegations that have been made are incapable of being unmade. But that doesn’t mean that this war of words needs to continue, that further insult is heaped on further injury.
It’s long past the time for both camps to come to their senses. Both sides have made huge contributions to the development of ladies football down the years, within the county and nationally, but equally they’ve both caused enormous damage to the LGFA with what they’ve said and done in recent months.
Enough is enough. It’s time to get this whole sorry saga out of the media spotlight. It won’t end the war but it’s surely a necessary first step to doing so.