By Aidan Fitzmaurice – Reposted from the Herald.ie
For Katie McCabe, the fact that her recent coming out and the revelation that she was is in a relationship with a team-mate from the Ireland international side passed without comment was a sign, a welcome one, that Ireland had moved on.
But not everyone in 2019 is ‘woke’ and the Irish captain has hit out at the “dinosaurs” from the pundit brigade who are still struggling to take women’s football seriously.
TV viewing figures for the summer World Cup in France were impressive, that all-female refereeing team for last week’s Super Cup was a boost to the women’s game as a whole, and, from an Irish viewpoint, there is hope that the senior side can deal with the vacuum created by the lack of a manager for the team, just two weeks out from the start of the Euro 2021 qualifiers, and make a push for qualification.
But some remain to be convinced. Graeme Souness queried the decision to appoint that female team to the Super Cup while Glenn Hoddle wondered, aloud on TV, if ref Stephanie Frappart and her assistants (including Irishwoman Michelle O’Neill) would be able to “keep up” with the pace in extra time.
“Obviously, I don’t like hearing it,” says McCabe.
“I think it is, if you like to use the term, ‘dinosaur’ (is appropriate). I definitely think they should maybe come out and watch a few more women’s games and see we’re not as bad as they think.
“Those comments I’m not into at all. Those comments just show their attitudes towards women’s officials and football, even looking back at Alex Scott last season putting it up to Graeme Souness in terms of their on-screen relationship.
“She was able to say everything back to him because she has such knowledge of the game. She has such experience. When Sky Sports get more players like that on the TV, it will definitely help our image as women’s footballers,” added the Tallaght native, on the books at Arsenal.
Of more immediate concern to team captain McCabe and her team-mates is the start of the Euro 2021 qualifiers. The Irish side face Montenegro in their opening qualifier, in Dublin, in just 13 days’ time ,but more than eight weeks after the surprise resignation of Colin Bell, the manager’s chair remains vacant.
Bell may now regret his decision to quit his FAI role and take up a post as assistant manager at Huddersfield Town as boss Jan Siewert was sacked last Friday, punishment for a return of one draw from the first four games of the season, continuing on the bad form of last season’s relegation from the Premier League. Bell’s status at the club is still unclear.
But a successor as Ireland manager has yet to be found and Tom O’Connor, who filled in as caretaker for a friendly in the USA earlier this month, will also be in the dugout for the Montenegro game in a fortnight. Former manager Dave Connell has been linked with the post but McCabe says the appointment cannot be rushed.
“I think the FAI are taking the right amount of time needed to find the best person for us to take us forward,” she said.
“I know before Colin came in, that was a long process as well.
“And this will be a long process. The time isn’t really a concern for me, I know they’re doing all they can.”
pRepublic of Ireland Captain Katie McCabe was in Tallaght Football Stadium today to announce the launch of Boots Ireland three-year sponsorship with the FAI as partner of the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team.