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Gender issue on the sideline for Dublin men?s coach Cliodhna O?Connor (Ireland)

I think everyone needs to drop any presumptions they have about gender-specific roles,? says Cliodhna O?Connor, by way of gentle conclusion, after talking about what it means to be a woman coaching in a mostly man?s world.

The day when a men?s intercounty team is managed by a woman may still be some way off, but O?Connor wouldn?t be that surprised to see it either. A Dublin women?s All-Ireland winner in 2010, and a two-time All Star goalkeeper, her current role as athletic development coach with the Dublin senior hurlers feels like a natural fit.

?I don?t see why not. I also think, to be honest with you, the male/female dynamic can work really well. Some people say, ?Oh, is it hard for a female to go into that environment, and all of that?? But I think sometimes that slightly different gender balance works exceptionally well with men. We?re even saying it with the women?s game ? we need more female coaches, and I think there?s a lot in that from a grassroots level.?

O?Connor stepped away from Dublin women?s football before their back-to-back All-Ireland titles of 2017-18, and since then has been learning her coaching trade across a number of sports, male and female.

?From my job, it?s the same thing. You take the demands of the game and you take the athlete and you try and make the athlete fit to meet the demands of the game. But it still comes down to the same decisions and the same processes all the time. People say, ?are you enjoying it?? And for me, it?s like being back in the wider Dublin GAA family. These guys are doing the same thing that I was trying to do 10 years ago, which is trying to win an All-Ireland for their county. So to me, it?s no different.?



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