Frank Mitchell: The young women who take part in these team matches owe a debt of gratitude to those who have worn the jerseys in the past

The BBC took over the coverage of women’s football and gave it the Super League treatment, match of the day it so deserves. The company has come a long way since its treatment of the game on Not the Nine O’Clock News. In the 1980s, Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones emerged as two bored supporters who complained about the quality of women’s football but didn’t leave the stadium until the end of the match as they wanted to see the players swap their jerseys. The clip ended with a group of topless women waving to the crowd as they exited the pitch. To the eternal shame of the BBC comedy, anyone can see it on YouTube.

eventually, those who saw women’s football as just an unwelcome intrusion into a men’s environment began to realize how wrong they had been. Many women are good footballers and some are exceptional. There has been increasing TV coverage over the years, but this new season with live matches featuring the biggest clubs and the best players is likely to be an audience winner.

It’s not just in soccer that women are known for their ability, athleticism and determination to win. Just take a thought at the Leona Maguire golf sensation of Cavan. Fortunately, GAA, rugby, hockey, and cricket all get additional coverage. Many individual players have become established names and some have started to benefit financially, but most are still far behind their male counterparts. New media attention will help correct this.

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