Photo Credit: LGFA / Peter Creedon (R)

“I don’t think it’s fair”: Tipp Senior Ladies manager voices objection to LGFA trans policy

Tipperary Senior Ladies Gaelic Football manager Peter Creedon has told Gript that he feels the LGFA’s decision to allow male-born players into the sport is unfair and could have potentially negative consequences looking to the future.

Peter Creedon was appointed manager of the Tipperary senior ladies team in October 2021, and is also a secondary school principal. The Senior Football manager, who is a native of Rosscarbery, has significant experience having managed both Tipperary and Laois senior men’s teams.

At the end of February, new rules enacted by the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) mean that players who transitioned, or are transitioning, from male to female, are now allowed to play in ladies gaelic football.

The LGFA’s policy allows both transgender adults and children to play the sport. Children aged between 12 and 15 will be allowed to play if they secure approval from a new Transgender Application Committee.

As per the rules set out in the policy, child players have to submit confirmation from a qualified medical practitioner – such as their GP – that they have or are transitioning from male to female and intend to “live their life as female”.

Players aged over 16, meanwhile, must also submit a confirmation from a medical professional or a Gender Recognition Certificate. Under policies which were agreed at the LGFA in February, they must also produce medical records indicating that their testosterone levels in the previous 12 months were less or equal to 10 nanomoles per litre.

The updated policy followed a review of the organisation’s policy in August after controversy erupted over a trans player Giulia Valentino, appearing for Na Gaeil Aeracha, the GAA’s first openly LGBT club, when it beat Na Fianna at the Dublin Junior J Shield football final. Before the game, a Na Fianna manager approached the referee to question the presence of Valentino in the opposition team.

As per the Sunday Independent, “A source at the game said the referee initially believed Valentino was part of Na Gaeil Aeracha’s backroom team until she won a high ball in the game’s first few minutes.”

The male referee stopped the game after the first break in play to tell Na Gaeil Aeracha there was “a problem with your number 21” and told them “the player is a man”.

The LGFA told the Sunday World that its new policy followed “a lengthy and detailed consultation process, which took into consideration worldwide international practice and legal advice”.

However, high profile female players have said that women players and clubs feel that they were not consulted.  “They say they  consulted ‘legal and medical’ people, but who are they, and, as far as we know, they consulted no players, no clubs and no coaches,” Danielle Loughrey told Gript.


Mr Creedon, who had multiple years’ experience with Tipperary Ladies Football County underage teams before being appointed minor and then senior manager, says he feels the policy has not yet attracted significant attention, and most people who are preoccupied with daily life are not aware of the new rules – which he says could potentially cause problems further down the line.

Photo courtesy of Peter Creedon

Speaking to Gript, he said: “I just don’t think it’s fair. And that isn’t anything against anyone, but at the end of the day, it’s ladies’ football, and it’s for young women.”

“There can be roles for other people in other parts of the organisation. We are an inclusive organisation, however our priority must be on fairness.”

The reality, however, he says plainly, is that “it’s ladies football”.

“We want to be an inclusive organisation but we also want to be fair,” he told Gript.

“We don’t even play challenge games with girls and boys at under 15 level because the physical advantage is going to be there.”

Mr Creedon says that the physical differences between males and females cannot be ignored, as he questioned what consultation process took place to determine the viability of the policy. He says that he doesn’t believe the policy necessarily came from “a bad place,” but that it has not been thought about logically or scientifically.

“The reality is that females have to work so much harder to get their fitness levels up and to maintain their fitness levels. They simply cannot compete with males at the same level.

“You could very well have a situation because of this policy where a physically strong transgender woman comes into the game – someone who has gone through puberty; who is athletic; and who has ability – that’s a situation which could arise. And that to me is not ladies football.

“That’s not the game that women signed up for; that’s a hybrid game.”

While this “might never occur,” he concedes that, the way things stand, “there is the potential for it to occur.”

Photo credit: Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA)

“The reality is there is not enough science to back this policy up. We should respect trans individuals, however, when it comes to participating in female sport, it should be for females.”

“I understand that football may be very important to a trans individual, but you have thirty other players on a pitch, what’s fair on them? We have to ask ourselves, really, what is inclusive, and what is fair?”


Asked about the consultation process behind the LGFA’s trans policy, the senior manager told Gript that he was not consulted. The Tipperary coach and father only heard of the policy once it made news headlines, and people began talking about it.

“I only heard about it when it reached the news,” he told Gript. “Prior to that, I heard nothing”.

“From my point of view I would ask, was there a proper consultation, and who was involved in the consultation process? I would like to know that,” he says.

Asked about the reaction he has observed from those involved in ladies’ football, he says:

“I don’t think it’s got much traction among a lot of people. I don’t hear the girls talking about it. It probably got lost a little bit – with so much going on surrounding this issue.”

He adds that while the decision to allow trans athletes into the sport has failed to garner a big reaction, the potential ramifications could hit home further down the line.

“I don’t hear many people talking about this. I suppose at this level of the sport, we are so preoccupied with getting teams ready and training for the league.”

“I suppose the reality will dawn on people when they’re faced with the situation which will arise. I think this will impact at the local level. Now, it won’t arise for many athletes – we are talking about a minority – but I feel that it will arise. There’s no doubt that we have opened the door for a range of unusual scenarios which could arise – and this is where this policy would be very awkward.”


Mr Creedon questioned why the LGFA has introduced such a policy at a time where other sporting organisations are taking steps to protect female sports. He references decisions made relating to the issue by the Rugby Football Union and World Athletics. Both organisations have banned male-born athletes from competing in women’s tournaments.

Last July, The Rugby Football Union (RFU) Council and Rugby Football League (RFL) Board both approved a new policy which bans transgender players from competing in rugby union and rugby league codes. The shift in policy only allows players to participate in the female category of the sport, “if the sex originally recorded at birth is female”

Meanwhile, as recently as March, World Athletics – the international governing body for the sport of athletics – confirmed it will exclude male-to-female transgender athletes who have gone through male puberty from female competition.

World Athletics president Lord Sebastian Coe said: “We have .. taken decisive action to protect the female category in our sport, and to do so by restricting the participation of transgender and DSD athletes.”

“Why are they so out of sync with other sports and other top sporting bodies?” he asked.

“Sebastian Coe with the World Athletics and also the Irish rugby football union, both have gone back to needing a biological birth cert for those sports, meaning that any male who’s gone through puberty can’t participate in those elite female sports. I think that’s probably the fairest way to do it.

“I don’t think this decision was correct. It’s a decision based on the present, not looking at the future. And it’s definitely out of sync with what other leading organisations have done and who have rowed back to protect female sports. Our game is not a million miles away from rugby, and it’s not a million miles away from athletics either.”

“They’ve all changed their policy around it. The question I would be posing is why are the LGFA so out of step with what other organisations are doing?”

Photo credit: Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA)

He said he believes the decision to enact the contentious policy stemmed from a desire to be seen as relevant more than anything else.

“I think it’s been enacted because the question was arising, and because this is a very topical issue at the moment. The LGFA probably thought that they had to do something to respond to that.”


Asked about what his players think about it, the coach said that there is a general sense of unease – with players at various levels of the belief that the game will only become more difficult once trans players, who have a biological advantage, are allowed into the sport.

He said that the general sentiment among players was that “we don’t need this.”

He also fears such a situation would change the dynamic of the dressing room for girls in the sport.

“It would change the whole dynamic of the dressing room and of the relationships between teams. Maybe it will run very smoothly, but I’m not so sure”.

He says that while many young players love mixing with their male peers, whether that be through school, college, or socially, there is a great sense of friendship and camaraderie for young women who play Gaelic together. This produces a dynamic which, he says, should be protected.

“I do know that the girls get great fun and great enjoyment from being in the dressing room with their female peers, and playing with their peers, and against their peers. They can say what they want, and they are comfortable, but if there is a male athlete there, that changes everything.”

Asked whether he thinks the LGFA could review the policy, Mr Creedon says he thinks such a situation is possible.

“I would think that it’s possible this will be changed. They might have to look again at the policy. I would ask, was it a rushed policy? I think that’s key.”

“We have to also ask ourselves if this is fair on all the girls who are playing gaelic – we can say all we want about inclusivity, but at the end of the day, we have to ask: does this move it away from being an all -female sport?”

He says thinking long-term is also paramount.

“This will present itself in the future – so we have to look at this now, and think about what could happen because of this decision.”

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