Since Monday and until Sunday, it’s Women in Sport Week.

We won’t go down the route of those tiresome souls on social media who mark International Women’s Day by asking, “But when is International Men’s Day?” (it’s November 19, for those who care).

We don’t need a Men in Sport Week because, by and large, there are no barriers to male participation – in an ideal world, we wouldn’t need a Women in Sport Week.

However, until we get to that stage, it’s essential that there is an initiative like this, to acknowledge the importance of the roles played by those involved and to generate more of that.

The stated aims of Women in Sport Week are to:

  • Celebrate every woman and girl who plays, coaches, officiates, volunteers, works in and leads out on women in sport.
  • Promote and highlight the ongoing work of Sport Ireland, ?National Governing Bodies (NGBs), Local Sports Partnerships (LSPs) and other stakeholders and clubs under the topic of women in sport.
  • Highlight some of the programmes/initiatives funded by the Sport Ireland Women in Sport Programme.
  • It’s not unreasonable to expect that this summer will be a big one in pushing the needle in terms of female participation and activity, as it’s impossible to overstate the positive effect that a World Cup can have. It may not be the same as Italia 90, but it won’t be a million miles away.

    Fittingly, earlier this week it was announced that the Republic of Ireland women’s team would be the grand marshal of this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin.

    Such an occurrence would have seemed unlikely ten or even five years ago. Even the fact that that there was transfer drama around Ireland captain Katie McCabe on deadline day – Chelsea wanted to sign her from Arsenal but the Gunners weren’t budging – is a sign of the growing levels of interest.

    This week also saw the announcement of a new all-island women’s competition, to take place during the domestic-season break for the World Cup, another encouraging move.

    We hasten to add that, while things are improving, they remain far from perfect.

    Last weekend, there was no Allianz Hurling League action. You might think that would allow for more camogie coverage, but Saturday night’s main evening news had no room for the results in the Very Camogie Leagues.

    When the mini-crisis surrounding the ill thought out timing for the Camoige All-Star received plenty of air-time, the least that one would expect would be that the matches themselves receive a cursory mention.

    It is because of things like this that the Women in Sport Week remains necessary.

    Credit to everyone involved and here’s hoping for the success to make it redundant.

    For more information, see

    Allianz leagues heat up

    As mentioned in previous columns, any talk of the Allianz Football and Hurling Leagues is often preceded with an “It’s only the…” tag, but that doesn’t mean that they lack for excitement as the closing stages loom on the horizon.

    With five wins from five, Mayo cannot be relegated from Division 1 but, beyond that, pretty much everything is still to play for. Roscommon, beaten by Mayo last weekend, won their first three before falling to Monaghan.

    Next up is Kerry away, with the Kingdom needing a win to secure their status – lose that and the Rossies could be facing a winner-takes-all clash with Donegal to avoid the drop.

    If anything, the remaining drama in Division 2 is of even more import, given that the placements for the All-Ireland SFC and second-tier Tailteann Cup will be determined by final league positions.

    And, given that provincial finalists are guaranteed a place in the All-Ireland and one of the Division 4 trio of Leitrim, London and Sligo or New York will be in the Connacht final, simply avoiding relegation from Division 2 won’t even be enough to secure status.

    Kildare, Clare and Limerick are currently in the bottom three, with Meath having a three-point cushion in fifth place.

    One or two of the Lilywhites, Banner or Shannonsiders could be making their respective provincial finals (Clare and Limerick are on the same side of the Munster draw, with Cork), but it’s not something they would want to be relying on.

    Then again, are you better off being in the Tailteann Cup with a chance of winning it rather than being an also-ran in the All-Ireland? That’s probably a question for another day.

    Italy could upset Wales in Rome

    It sounds weird to say it, but the most interesting game of the Six Nations weekend could be the one in Rome.

    While Italy are yet to win this year, their margins of defeat have been far closer than in recent campaigns – their scoring difference is minus-36, compared with minus-62 for Wales – and they have a bonus point, something that Warren Gatland’s side are yet to achieve.

    Italy won in Cardiff in the dying minutes last year and, while it wasn’t exactly a smash and grab, it was still something of a surprise.

    This time around, the bookmakers can’t separate the sides, with both at 10/11 for Saturday’s clash. It’s quite the turnaround, given that Wales won the grand slam in 2019 and the championship in 2021.

    It just goes to show that things can change quickly and that opportunities have to be taken, but there is no doubting that the Ireland management and team will be aware of that as they go to Murrayfield to face Scotland.

    While the Scots’ momentum was interrupted with defeat away to France a fortnight ago, they can still win the Triple Crown and the championship and Ireland will underestimate them at their peril.

    Win and there is the prize of going for the grand slam in front of a packed Aviva on St Patrick’s weekend, but the recipe for winning involves a lot of different ingredients working together.