Playing The Ball, Not The Woman


NHandSCNiamh Horan (left) and Sarah Carey

Further to Female RugbygGate.

Firstly the fact that this was written by a woman makes me wonder if the media will ever stop undermining women. Who, if not women, will ensure that what is published for the public speaks only of women as equals? Women in the media have a responsibility to empower and inspire other women. Let me put it this way, if a man had written this it wouldn’t have gone to press because there would have been further uproar. The fact that a woman wrote it makes it “ok” because it’s a woman and not a man enforcing the backward patriarchal traditions that are to this day still seen in mainstream media.
I don’t know her motivations but obviously there is no way the Irish could possibly stomach a piece on strong, hard working and motivated women without putting them back in their place. Oh but don’t worry, “They are fit, toned, effortlessly pretty players who love nothing more than getting dolled up for the evening” a little easier to stomach now I bet?

An Open Letter To The Editor Of The Sunday Independent (Mary Hayes, AThinkPiece)

So now Horan’s being attacked for perpetuating gender stereotypes. The Outragerati are ignoring the part that she was reporting comments from the players themselves. So much for truth to power. Anyway, I rather enjoyed the article because, having little or no interest in sport, it forced me to address my own assumptions about women’s rugby.

Yes, find the nearest cyber-gallows. Honest to God, in the 2.5 seconds I may have assigned to thinking about it, I assumed that a female rugby player would require a physical and mental disposition I will describe as masculine. Big. Tough. Square. Able to hold up a scrum and not panic when they do that thing of piling on top of one another while the person at the bottom of the heap has to get the ball out, but without passing it or something confusing, which I don’t get at all. Anyway, Horan in a light-hearted style challenged the assumptions held by sinners like me.

Hung, drawn and quartered on Twitter – all for a ‘fluffy’ colour piece on women’s rugby (Sarah Carey,


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91 thoughts on “Playing The Ball, Not The Woman

  1. Hosannah in the Hiace

    ffs. its the Sindo
    I know it suits you sometimes yo pretend its a reputable newspaper. but its nor

  2. ShmokesaShmoke

    Outrage = clicks. Clicks = ad rev.

    Good job Niamh. Thanks for that.

    The Editor

    1. Anna

      don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the indo’s in the red big time. even fake controversy can’t help it, it’s losing money hand over fist

    2. Nigel

      Well done, I was worried someone wouldn’t get an ‘outrage/clicks/thanks’ formulation in there quick enough. Clap on the back there for that one.

    3. Jay

      If you look at her twitter feed you’ll see she takes pride in her trashy fluff piece clickbaityness.

      I can’t decide whether she does it by accident and is actually the complete muppet she comes across as or she genuinely believes what she does is some form of positive contribution to discourse, though that would also make her a muppet.

  3. Bobby

    “Quick Sarah, one of your co-workers wrote an awful article and is rightfully getting lambasted for it. You’re a woman so we’ve decided you’re going to write an article defending her. That’ll make it seem like we’re on the side of women!”

  4. Mani

    I’m a fairly tolerant live and let live kind of chap, but Scarey is one of the most repellent flesh-suit wearing reptiles ever to be hatched. Any time I’ve had the misfortune to hear her Newstalk radio show ‘Shut Up I’m Talking’ I have been agog that she has the ability to speak given that I assume she normally has her mouth full after a mantis-like session of [REDACTED]

  5. The Redundant Proofreaders Society

    “The Outragerati” ?
    We thought good English was one of the requirements of a writer.

    1. Hosannah in the Hiace

      I don’t know. Una Mullally seems to do OK despite her clunky prose and laboured arguments

      1. The Redundant Proofreaders Society

        Doing OK and writing well are two very different things, my reverent friend.

    2. cluster

      Journalist and writer aren’t the same thing.

      Anyway Outragerati is a rather simple-to-understandable coined word even. I don’t like how it sounds and I don’t like Carey but that is no proof of anything.

  6. Der

    Some women fit stereotypes, that’s part of the reason they’ve become stereotypes. The issue is when there’s nothing else presented but stereotypes then it doesn’t leave room for anyone else. They problem isn’t some trashy piece in a rag, the problem is our reputable press aren’t making up the numbers, in terms of positive coverage of women’s sport. And that’s mostly because the people who still buy the newspapers are of a “certain generation”, we should be looking to The Journal to give us decent coverage and let the old schooler be.

    1. Fka

      Well whatever about the current state of deck chair rearranging in the print media, I certainly won’t be ‘looking to The Journal’ (or any similarly parasitic news aggregator) for any reason. News sources should be many and as widely varied as possible.

      1. cluster

        The journal does have some good pieces by Irish people who know quite a bit about their field – something the Sindo has no interest in.

  7. Franno

    More clickbait for the Indo Group. Huzzah!
    Indo article life-cycle
    Stage 1. Poo article
    Stage 2. Circle the Indo wagons with an “opinion” piece.
    Stage 3. Turn the journo into the story. eg. Niamh Horan- “My social media hellstorm anguish”.
    Stage 4. Repeat Stage 1.

      1. Fergus the magic postman

        Well done for being entirely random, and not making the same ( kinda tiresome in its own right) point twice in one thread. *Applause*

  8. Medium Sized C

    In the 2.5 seconds thought Sarah Carey gave to the matter, she arrived at a lazy stereotype.
    So she didn’t think about it, so its ok to run with the stereotype.

    I worry sometimes.

    1. Medium Sized C

      Having read the first few paragraphs of the article by Sarah Carey, I’m left wondering:

      Did an adult write this?
      Did an adult….with an Editor….write this?

  9. kurtz

    She actually typed: “Honest to God”

    She might as well have started off by saying “Come here to me now..”

    1. j

      Yeah, like come on, no need to confuse the Indo reader with like good prose, or anything like that.

  10. soundmigration

    “It’s well known that Sarah is a right wing pundit and cheerleader for neo liberal politics that has brought this state, Europe and indeed the global economy to a grinding halt. She is a happy cheer leader for the greedy pigs in the trough like O Brien, Lowry etc. She is the paid mouthpiece of hyper capitalists and whilst she clearly doesnt lie ib the video above, she does say that she did lie. She says she leaked about payments to the PD but then told the tribunal that she didnt. But she lies all the time, and like O Brien, Lowry and most likely Dunne, they are serial liars. That is the core of spin, it is about fabricating lies.

    Carey recently printed that Ireland had had the ‘most generous social welfare payments in the EU’. This isnt spin. This is simply a lie. She cant and wont back up making such claims because she lied. Simple as. The aim is to help foster a culture where us, the working poor and unemployed can be seen as a problem to be fixed rather than human beings with dinity and a desire to have full democratic control over our own lives.”

    I wrote some words into a thing about yer one a while back.

      1. Sidewinder

        It seems to be a rather detailed argument about the fact that her opinion isn’t worth anything. Must say I agree.

  11. Ploppy

    Worst and most depressing thing about all this is that the author of the godawful article in question is most probably ecstatic at the volume of attention it’s been getting and will use this as a launchpad to gain a more prominent media position, allowing her to more effectively splatter us all with ever greater volumes of asinine, ill-informed shite.

    1. Medium Sized C

      Kind of irrelevant to the point.

      Given how common the practice of telling lies is at all levels of the Human race.

      1. Sidewinder

        Lying at a tribunal is slightly different to lying about how much chocolate you ate today tbf.

        1. Medium Sized C

          Also the point was to somewhat debase the idea that someone doing something unrelated wrong is a shite reason to disregard everything they have to say.

          Its that baying lynch-mob thinking that you get on the internet.

          1. Medium Sized C


            That’s really relevant actually.
            Totally applicable to bring Hitler into it.

            I mean like we totally live in a world where things are so absolute that killing millions of people because of sexuality, religion and ethnic status, invading half of europe, waging one of the largest wars in history, and brutally ruling in a a regime of violently intolerant authortarian nationalism are on a par with telling fibs at a tribunal over backhanders for mobile phone licences.

            I guess, maybe we can make an exception to my rule for 70 years dead despots, Everybody you can totally write off the opinion of Adolf Hitler on Niamh Horans article about womens rugby.

          2. jungleman

            Despite your rant, the point I made was valid as it debunks your argument “that someone doing something unrelated wrong is a shite reason to disregard everything they have to say”. You’ve reacted as though I fell foul of Godwin’s law, so why not just say that? Probably because you realise that I actually didn’t do so.

          3. Anne

            You’ve reacted as though I fell foul of Godwin’s law, so why not just say that? Probably because you realise that I actually didn’t do so

            You did.
            You lose.

          4. Anne

            All right, we’ll leave you off this time.. you were comparing Hitler to someone. Anyone. Just not yer wan. :)

            Carry on. It’s riveting stuff.

        1. Medium Sized C

          It might if the article had been about backhanders, phone licences, Denis O’Brien or something else related to the Moriarty Tribunal.

          1. Nigel

            If you discredit yourself in one area, it does tend to cross over. This article doesn’t require facts, but it does require honesty, and in the reader a belief on the writer’s honesty if it’s to be taken at all seriously. Not that there was any real risk of anyone taking it seriously, but there you go. Honest to God.

    1. B Bop

      They are different…blah blah, Horan, Carey, Hitler…
      Can we not leave the rugged men to play their game of rugby…it is not a game for the wimins.
      There I said it.
      Daintily sips Lady Grey tea whilst tutting on the state of manly wimins, boxing & playing rugby.

  12. Ciaran

    how nice of Mary Hayes to still bring this back to blaming the “patriarchal society”, because god forbid a controversial media piece involving women can’t be used to blame men.

    1. ahjayzis

      I’m no expert but I don’t think the ‘patricarchal’ society concept is really anti-men, men don’t do well out of it either like. It’s more like the term ‘establishment’ – majority of whom are admittedly men. But your average Joey Heyabud doesn’t get a lot out of it.

  13. Mary Hayes

    First of all I am Mary Hayes and I wrote the above quoted open letter to the Sindo. I am not only disgusted at your support of this blatantly sexist article but am also gobsmacked as to why yet ANOTHER female journalist chooses to further feed the ridiculous idea that women aren’t interested in sports. Yes ok Horan was quoting the players themselves but the fact that these were the questions she asked and published are the issues here. This article should never have gone past the brainstorming (or in this case brainfarting) stage. My letter has received a 100% positive response from over 20,000 people. Just because you don’t understand rugby doesn’t mean you get to completely demean it.

    1. Grouse

      Mary Hayes, I’m on your side in this argument, but: who is your comment addressed to? Who here is supporting the original article? Was your comment a reply to another commenter above?

  14. Corvo

    “I assumed that a female rugby player would require a physical and mental disposition that I will describe as masculine”. Therein lies the problem. The idea that certain physical and mental dispositions belong to one gender or another. Men are strong, aggressive, barrel chested, hairy, dominant, alpha males while women are small, physically weak, placid (unless it’s that time of the month amirite lads) and better suited to indoor pursuits. These women like rugby? They must be like men! Oh they like feminine things too, I guess I can accept them as real women now. These out dated stereotypes are damaging for everyone, women, men and others outside the binary. The sooner they’re left behind the better, and the only way to do that is call them out when we see them.

    Gender is a construct.

    Also I really hope outragerati doesn’t catch on.

    1. Bluebeard

      Would you ever get up the yard. Men and women are different, the differences tend to be the same, it has always been thus. Is your campaign of ‘calling out’ going to change the laws of nature or is it just designed to make you feel super smug about your ‘modern’ point if view. If you are right why does panti wear boobs, long haired wigs and lipstick? Stereotyping wench that she is!

      1. Corvo

        Physically, yes, of course men and women are different. Different genitals, different hormones, women generally don’t grow beards and men can’t get pregnant. Sure. But that’s not really the point. If a women is stronger than the average man, or wants to be a rugby player or doesn’t like makeup or dresses does that make her less of a woman? If a man wants to be a hair dresser, or stay home with the kids or shave his legs does that make him not a man. Of course there’s nothing wrong with a woman being more traditionally feminine or a man being more traditionally masculine, but saying your not a real man/woman because you don’t conform to certain standards and like certain things is pointless. And that’s not even getting into the problems it causes for transgender and intersex people. It’s not just being trendy or modern or having fashionable opinions, it’s just accepting that not everyone fits into one of two neat little boxes and questioning if arbitrary standards of femininity and masculinity really mean anything anymore or have any value in are society, or do they just serve to make certain people feel like they don’t belong.

  15. PJ Hammond

    Sarah Carey makes some good points about having the same opinions as the outraged Twitter mob. Otherwise they will eat you alive. What would Jane Ruffino think?

    1. Medium Sized C

      What people like Sarah never think, ever, is that possibly twitter is now broad enough that “the mob” might be the majority and that the majority might just think that the article was horrible.

      It’s classic conservative deflection tactics.

      1. cluster

        It is a classic conservative deflection tactic but it is about the only valid point she makes.

      1. cluster

        Think about how you would react if somebody you strongly supported said they felt bullied on twitter. Would you make the same casual dismissal?

  16. Haroo von Haroo

    She was a member of young Fine Gael. Her dad was a fg councillor In Enfield. It was said that he owned Enfield.

    1. cluster

      The righteous side sure makes an absolute tir of themselves sometimes.

      Being a member of a political party is nothing to be ashamed off in a democracy, nor is having a father who was a big fish in a small pond.

      Carey has disgraced herself by her own actions, there’s no need to be throwing these wild haymakers.

  17. thesuper

    any chance they’d fall in love and run away together?, womens rugby is just wrong, like men in high heels is wrong.

  18. Buzz

    Found Carey’s piece sickening. She comes across as a smug, ICA woman who plays the game – has probably done everything her mammy ever told her, sucks up to anyone who could advance her cause etc. She doesn’t seem to understand that the internet more closely reflects the reality of people’s lives because people can communicate anonymously whereas newspapers are the land of make-believe and agendas. Her arguments were robust but hollow. And gawd, I hate when women refer to other women as birds.

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