Saturday , 23 June 2018
Home » Latest News » The women breaking down barriers in Irish sports media

The women breaking down barriers in Irish sports media

 

The women breaking down barriers in Irish sports media

Jacqui Hurley, Máire Treasa Ní Dhubhghaill and Marie Crowe are three of the most recognisable female faces – and voices – in the Irish sports media, the trio, all now “thirtysomethings”, working for RTÉ, TG4 and UTV Ireland, respectively.

Hurley, from Ballinhassig in Cork (with a seven-year sojourn in Australia), played basketball for Ireland and camogie for Cork before joining RTÉ where she went on to become the first female presenter of Sunday Sport.

Ní Dhubhghaill, from Coill Rua in Galway, started out presenting children’s and entertainment shows on TG4 before landing her dream job, hosting the channel’s rugby coverage.

You’re all steeped in sport, it was at the centre of your lives growing up, playing and spectating. No escaping it?

JH: No! My Mum and Dad just got us to try everything when we were young, so we really knew then what we loved.

We moved to Australia when I was three, they went there to work during the recession, we were living in Canberra and the Australian Institute of Sport was right around the corner, so there was just so much sport going on around us. Australians are us, except with sporting facilities – and tans.

Netball was massive, so I played that, and when we came home to Ireland, seven years later, netball wasn’t so big, basketball was the closest thing.

And you ended up playing basketball for Ireland and camogie for Cork?

JH: I did, but it came to a point when I had to choose one, and looking back now I probably would have chosen camogie.

I didn’t realise then that basketball was going to run in to such difficulties. I thought I’d travel the world with it, but then overnight the money was gone, programmes were finished.

Meanwhile the girls I was playing camogie with – there would have been Anna Geary, Gemma O’Connor, Aoife Murray, Joanne O’Callaghan on the minor team I grew up on – all now have All-Ireland medals in their back pockets. They’d often slag me.

JH: Pretty much! “Ah, you could have been there,” or whatever. So there are times when you regret it – but look, I got lots of other breaks.

MC: Definitely. Dad had been an international runner so athletics was a big part of our lives – my brother Timmy is an international runner now too – and then he was the fitness trainer with the Clare hurlers under Len Gaynor and a selector for the Munster schools rugby team – Peter Stringer and all.

We were brought everywhere, to training and matches, to horse racing, the Irish [golf] Open, rugby internationals, even trips to Old Trafford. We loved it.

We were brought everywhere, to training and matches, to horse racing, the Irish [golf] Open, rugby internationals, even trips to Old Trafford. We loved it.

My husband plays [Gaelic] football as well (Billy Sheehan of Laois) and people always say, “Jesus, you must be so patient, he’s always away” – but I don’t know any different, it’s just normal life.

There were seven of us, we played everything, did all the community games, the Mosneys, underage county teams. Camogie.

I played soccer for Lifford Ladies in Ennis all through school. And when I moved to Dublin I played for St Pats up until I had my last baby.

We were on the sideline at Munster finals doing the water, you could see me on the Sunday Game when I was 12 giving water to a Clare player – only [Limerick’s] Gary Kirby took the bottle off me. I was raging. […]

Check Also

The underappreciated role of women in sports in Nigeria

The underappreciated role of women in sports in Nigeria

It is arguable that a greater proportion of Nigeria’s sporting success is attributable to women. …