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Amber Gill has confirmed that Irish rugby player Greg O'Shea dumped her by text, and didn't make an effort in their relationship.

Limerick native Greg claimed that they broke up via phone call on The Late Late Show on Friday night, but 22-year-old Geordie beautician Amber has set the record straight.

The pair won Love Island together only five weeks ago after the Irishman coupled up with her, having only been in the villa for 12 days. They split the prize money between them, but Amber should have stolen it…

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Speaking for the first time since the split on today's Loose Women, Amber revealed she was "really disappointed" by the sudden end to their relationship. 

Explaining what happened, Amber said: "So from my point of view I still wanted to make it work. There was a call a few days prior just chatting, not specifically to do with that.

"I think there was a bit of miscommunication but I think if you don’t want to be with someone, you don’t want to be with someone," the Newcastle native continued,

"Basically all I wanted was a bit of effort from him to come to London or Newcastle to see me. I said I’m going to have to give up if you don’t put the effort in."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Greg then responded in a way that would make any woman's blood boil; "And he said 'okay bye'. I was expecting it to be a bit different." 

Greg had claimed that he still has feelings for Amber and has not ruled out a reunion in the future, but Amber admitted that she never expected Islanders going in late to have secret motivations. 

"He’s a lovely guy but I’m not sure what’s going to happen in the future really. It’s a bit of an odd situation. 

"The Islanders in from the beginning were naive to people going in later on and what people's perceptions were and what were being said. I didn’t really think of that at the time." 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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As her second time as a Loose Women panelist, Amber spoke very honestly about the split. 

"Obviously I’m really disappointed. I wasn't expecting it at all. I was due to fly to Dublin and spend the weekend with him and go on a TV show together.  

"On that day I had to cancel as it wasn’t working out. I think the careers and the distance was always a factor. I don’t know what changed. I wanted to make it work but it is what it is." 

Our queen isn't letting it get her down, however; "I am disappointed it's over. I’m booked and busy and I'll be fine. Onwards and upwards from here."

Greg appeared on The Late Late Show solo with Maura Higgins after Amber cancelled due to their split. He claimed that they'd tried to make it work but the distance and busy schedules were too much.

"Me and Amber have been chatting the last few days and the whole thing about breaking up over text isn't true.  But we need to be realistic about the situation, and the fact she's in the UK," he added.

"We're both so busy and we need to take these opportunities and protecting our careers.  She has every brand wanting to work with her, and I'm trying to make the team for the Olympics"

Feature image: ITV/REX

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According to research from Nielsen, 63 percent of people want to see Ireland's sportswomen honoured as national heroes in the same way as sportsmen.

Irish journalism focused on women in sport is in dire need of improvement, and today Investec has launched it's inaugural 20×20 Media Awards to recognise excellence in this field.

The 20×20 Nielsen Sports Study found that just a shocking three percent of print and four percent of online coverage was dedicated to women’s sport in Ireland: it's time for improvements.

The Federation of Irish Sport presented Investec as a sponsor for 20×20 in order to provide more support for women in sport.

Greater cultural recognition is one way to start; broadcast, print and online journalists are being invited to submit entries on women in sport to it's latest awards competition.

Investec has curated an expert panel of judges for their 2019 Media Awards;

Anna Kessel as chairwoman; Mary O’Connor, CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport; Michael Cullen, CEO of Investec; Sarah Colgan, CEO of  Along Came A Spider and 20×20 co-founder and Gordon D’Arcy, former Irish International rugby player.

Nielsen Sports were commisioned by 20×20 to monitor media coverage of sport, which resulted in quite discouraging statistics. 

20×20 has estimated television coverage of women's sport is less than 12 percent, and 59 percent of Irish people believe that the media should do more to promote female sport.

57 percent of people want to see equality in female and male sporting role models in the media, and 63 percent of the public would love to see Irish women being given the same 'national hero' status as men.

Anna Kessel, chairwoman of Investec 20×20 Awards said: “In celebrating women's sports journalism the Investec 20×20 Media Awards are sending out a very powerful message: women's sport is amazing, and of value."

"For every sports editor who's ever wondered if it's worth covering; to every coach who questioned whether girls needed encouraging, and to every sports’ governing body deliberating over how much to invest in their female athletes this year, this initiative makes it clear: women's sport matters."

The objective of 20×20 is to increase the level of coverage of women’s sport across media by 20 percent by the end of 2020, according to its founder, Sarah Colgan.

Gowan girlos, you deserve a medal. Like Katie Taylor-sized medal. Multiple medals, actually…

amy poehler soccer GIF

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Una Healy and English rugby player Ben Foden have gone their separate ways.

A spokesperson on behalf of the singer confirmed the pair had split.

The news comes just weeks after the couple celebrated their six-year wedding anniversary on June 30.

 

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It is understood that Una and Ben had been planning to move their family to the US in a few days, reports the Sun.

The couple have two children together, six-year-old Aoife Belle, and Tadhg John, who is three years of age.

However, Una has now reportedly returned to her native Ireland to her mum, along with Aoife and Tadhg. 

 

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It is believed that Ben will still relocate to New York, reports the Sun.

The 33-year-old rugby union player signed for Rugby United New York after ending his career with Premiership club Northampton Saints.

 

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Speaking to the Sun, the Saturdays singer's spokeswoman said:

“I can confirm Una and Ben have separated and she’s in Ireland with her mum and kids, but there will be no further comment to make.”

The pair had tied the knot in Ireland at Kilshane House in Co Tipperary in June 2012.

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"I feel like the term 'queer athlete' is a funny term because it puts sexual orientation before a camp that is more important. We're all athletes, and then we're who we are."

That's some much-needed wisdom from Katelyn, a rugby player who you'll learn more about. I felt I needed to start with this quote because I'll probably throw around the term 'queer athletes' a lot in this piece, simply because it's a bit less tortured than saying 'athletes who happen to be queer' over and over again. 

Make no mistake though – I agree with her. She has a valid point about a person's queerness simply being a part of who they are, and sport being an active choice. 

One thing I learned through these conversations, however, was that people vary in the way they express their queer identity, and sometimes that expression can impact a their experience as an athlete. 

The four people I spoke to in the lead-up to Pride Week are passionate athletes and they're queer. Seeing as it's Pride, I wanted to shine a light on what it's like to be an LGBT person in sport.

Their answers varied, as much as queer athletes do themselves. 

Michael Kavanagh

Michael is a trans man, and being trans, his queer identity comes into direct play with how he expresses his identity as an athlete.

He currently plays rugby on women's teams, but once he medically transitions he will have to switch to a men's team because he'll be on testosterone. 

The 22-year-old says that sport can be a 'grey area' regarding gender at times:

"While I'm legally recognised as a male, because of my body, my biology and everything, I'm still considered to be in a female league, so I still play on the women's team even though I'm a man.”

The flanker says that he feels a 'bit of conflict' when it comes to playing on a women's team, but that overall he doesn't mind because, "Have you seen rugby women? They are tough. They are tough as nails."

He explained, "I feel very at home with the women on the team and they've seen me grow up, basically. So I'm not uncomfortable with them at all. Sometimes yes, the fact that I'm a guy on a girls' team rubs me up the wrong way.”

However, he feels that before he medically transitions, he’d feel uncomfortable physically on a men’s team, such as in the locker room.

As for as trans athletes in Ireland, the rugby player says he feels bolstered by the fact that trans men are getting great recognition in Ireland, such as the GALAS Sport Award winner Cameron Keighron.

Michael says that trans women have a much more difficult time remaining involved in athletics, though. He thinks the stigma around trans people must be dispelled in order for trans athletes, especially women, to be accepted:

"It's this whole idea that to be taking hormones, or if you were assigned male at birth and you're coming in to play against people assigned female at birth, it's this assumption that male bodies automatically have better qualities and an upper hand compared to female bodies.

"I don't know a trans person who's trying to use their biology to come in and dominate a sport. They just want to play the sport in the team or in the category that matches their gender."

Michael hopes that national sports teams will make an open show of trans-inclusiveness, saying that vocal support coupled with education can help end the stigma around being trans.

For now, Michael will continue playing rugby and move to a men's team when the time comes in his medical transition.

The Emerald Warriors, a men's team, have already told him that he's welcome to join, as they've had men who are pre-, mid-, and post-transition play with them.

When I asked if he had advice for fellow trans men who're athletes, he replied:

"I suppose, my advice would be that you don't have to compromise one identity for the other. I always thought my trans identity and my sporting identity were in conflict, that if I wanted to excel in one I had to subdue the other. And it's just not like that.”

Katelyn and Louise

When Katelyn joined Trinity's women's rugby team during her year abroad, she didn't realise she meet her now-girlfriend, Louise.

They're on a club team together now, with Katelyn, 23, playing flyhalf and Louise, 25, playing flanker.

The couple said that their team is made up of women of a number of sexual orientations.

The main issues they spoke about arose from less from being queer, in their eyes, and rather the expectations around women's place in sport.

"Realistically, most clubs in Ireland – I'm reluctant to include the GAA but I think I have to – are run by men of a certain age, of a certain wealth. And their impression of women in sport is to stay in good shape, to attend the dinner with men – and that's just the way it is!" Louise said.

"We're really lucky that we're definitely not in a club that's like that, and there's a lot of clubs that aren't like that.”

Women's rugby hasn't been given the respect that it deserves for years, especially in the IRFU. Recently, women in the game have been more vocal about their frustration with how the IRFU treats them, but they've also been met with much backlash.

"There's a sentiment for maybe another generation of people in those high positions that see women's rugby players as these angry, unappreciative lesbians who will fight, and fight, and fight, but are angry about a life they've chosen," Katelyn told me.

They said that even in Trinity, the women's team has been continually passed over in favour of the men's team.

Katelyn explained, "The girls that are good in rugby want to go somewhere they're taken care of, like DCU or UCD or Carlow, where they're given coaching and made to feel like they're important.

"That's where the attention needs to be – forget about queer athletes, let's just talk about women athletes. That's really where the difference is."

Louise made the point, though, that image is an area where you can sometimes see a difference between queer and straight athletes off the pitch. 

Katelyn said, "I think that is one of the big differences between queer athletes and straight athletes is that, especially in Ireland, straight athletes have an additional game you have to play with keeping up your appearance and almost pretending that you're not an athlete."

"…You’re compensating for how good you are on the pitch because you wouldn't want to be perceived as manly or gay, god forbid," Katelyn imparted.

When I asked for their last words on the subject, Katelyn said that she thinks talking about queer athletes or other groups of queer people can sometimes put a label on something that doesn’t need to be labelled.

Thinking about this, Louise said she'd be interested to see the topic from another angle and understand how straight people perceive queer athletes.

Katelyn concluded, "It's almost like you need to be having the opposite conversation."

Oli Riordan

Oli was an avid football player growing up, and he's kept on kicking as a 22-year-old.

Being bisexual, the striker said that he was comfortable talking about girls with fellow club players growing up and just didn't bring up guys.

Now, though, he's playing on one of Ireland's two gay and inclusive football teams – the Dublin Devils, which welcomes players who are gay, straight, and everything in between. He's been with the Devils going on four years.

They’re heading to the Paris Gay Games in August to represent Team Ireland alongside athletes from other sports as well. Oli told me he’s excited to meet queer people from all over the world.

"It's not just about sports, it's about community and bringing everything together and celebrating diversity. There's going to be an awful lot of social aspects as well as the sporting competition which I'm really looking forward to," he expressed.

I asked if he preferred playing on a team where being queer is a central focus.

"I prefer playing with a gay team just because it's a lot easier, there's a lot less pressure, to just be yourself," the footballer replied.

"When you first come out to a group of people, you're never quite sure how everyone's going to take it. So, being able to turn up to football training or just a kick about and not have that expectation of having to bring it up and having to weather the storm."

He thinks, though, that we have a massive way to go until the presence of queer athletes is normalised in sport, particularly in football. Oli feels that the system needs to change in order to make coming out a viable option for professional footballers.

"The football association in England, their basic approach to it whenever someone goes up to them and says 'Are you going to legislate to make it easier for players to come out?', they say, 'Well, this would be a problem if there were any gay football players'," Oli explained.

"You're talking about tens of thousands of men, and you're telling me that there's not one queer man in that entire – that's not even including the club staff! So I think there needs to be a massive change, especially in football… It has to happen at a club and organisation level."

As for his own experience, Oli says that it can be tough at times being on one of Ireland's only gay and inclusive football teams.

He said, "I think probably the worst thing is how we have to keep justifying our existence as a team, because… every time we're in the press, there are all sorts of people saying, why is there a gay team? You know, it just becomes… it's fatiguing."

Before the interview ended, I asked if he had anything else he wanted to say about being a queer athlete.

He took his time before responding, "I think what I would want to say is that if there are queer people out there who are also into sport, who have been told that they can't be into sport because they're queer, don't lose hope. There are places for you. There are people that will accept you.

"And if I had known when I was younger that one day I would be playing for a gay team and having the best time playing football ever, that would have been really, really great for me to know…

"Whatever sport you're into, you can find a group of people that will accept you. And if not, start your own…

"Whatever city you're in, if you are queer and you love football or you love whatever sport, get a group of you together, play, and you can start your own team. And we'll look forward to meeting you on the pitch."

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Paddy Jackson has signed a two-year contract with French rugby club, Perpignan. 

The move will see the  former Ulster and Ireland international fly-half play in the Top 14 next season. 

In a statement shared on the club's official website this morning, Christian Lanta, Sporting Director of the French side, said:

"Paddy JACKSON, traditionally the Irish number 10, knows how to put his individual qualities at the service of the collective; confirmed goal scorer, talented lineman, Paddy has to bring to the team his experience of the international level."

The number 10 had his contract revoked by the IRFU earlier this year after a high-profile rape trial which saw them acquitted of all charges. 

An internal review into the players misconduct found that although they were found not guilty, their actions did not adhere to the game's core values: "Respect, inclusivity and integrity." 

At the time, the IRFU also announced that they intend to ensure that these core values are applied across the board. 

"It has been agreed, as part of this commitment, to conduct an in-depth review of existing structures and educational programmes, within the game in Ireland, to ensure the importance of these core values is clearly understood, supported and practised at every level of the game."

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Paddy Jackson is said to be ready to sign a cut-price deal with English Premiership side Sale Sharks after the terms of which were agreed by both player and club. 

According to The Telegraph, Jackson's former Ulster team mate Stuart Olding is also expected to sign for the side. 

The paper reports that Jackson has accepted a deal worth around €230k a year – €50k less than he was being paid by the IRFU. 

Both men had their contracts revoked by the IRFU last month after a high-profile rape trial which saw them acquitted of all charges. 

An internal review into the players misconduct found that although they were found not guilty, their actions did not adhere to the game's core values: "Respect, inclusivity and integrity." 

At the time, the IRFU also announced that they intend to ensure that these core values are applied across the board. 

'It has been agreed, as part of this commitment, to conduct an in-depth review of existing structures and educational programmes, within the game in Ireland, to ensure the importance of these core values is clearly understood, supported and practised at every level of the game.'

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Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding will be financially compensated after being dropped by the IRFU and Ulster Rugby. 

The news comes after the sporting organisations released a joint statement yesterday confirming that both players would have their contracts revoked following the Belfast rape trial. 

According to the Sunday Independent, Paddy Jackson will be paid off by the IRFU, in a compromise that will see him walk way with a figure "close to his contract value," while Stuart Olding is also expected to receive a undisclosed payment. 

Exact figures are set to remain confidential, however the Irish Mirror reports that the both players were on contracts of between €100,000 and €300,000 per year.

Both men were acquitted of rape and sexual assault in Belfast last month. 

A spokesperson for the IRFU told the Sunday Independent: "The substantive issue here is that the players' contracts have been revoked with immediate effect, beyond that we have no further comment to make."

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The World Rugby Council has selected France to the host the 2023 Rugby World Cup following a secret ballot in London on Wednesday morning.

The European nation proved to be the strongest contender, beating both Ireland and South Africa in the race to host the sporting tournament.

South Africa had been named as the preferred choice by World Rugby's independent review, though the final decision was left to representatives from the council's member nations.

After securing just eight votes, Ireland's bid was eliminated in the first round.

France then went on to win 25 votes to South Africa's 15.

The result comes after both France and Ireland criticised World Rugby's decision to recommend South Africa, with  IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne going as far as to write a letter of complaint outlining his concerns about the process. 

According to The Irish Independent, World Rugby acknowledged the letter last week and said that "it had addressed in full, clarification requests by the Rugby World Cup 2023 host candidates and council members." 

Of course, Irish rugby fans are pretty disappointed about the whole situation, but hey, at least we've an excuse to take a holiday – and it's waaaay cheaper to fly to Paris than it is to Cape Town. 

Every cloud… 

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He may have insisted he didn't want to be discriminatory, but Senator Terry Leyden still managed to do so when he recently suggested that certain sports were outside the physical capabilities of women.

Speaking to the Seanad, Senator Leyden revealed that he did not support the idea of female rugby teams due to the physical nature of the game.

“Funnily enough, I am not a great advocate of women's rugby,” he said. “I am not over enthusiastic about it from a health point of view.”

Suggesting that us women folk might be better served in a different field, he went on to say: "Rugby is a very physical game.  I think there are certain games more suited to women, and I do not mean to be discriminatory."

“I mean it from the point of view of the future health of women rugby players," he added.

Unsurprisingly, the remarks went down like a lead balloon, with RTÉ sports broadcaster, Evanne Ní Chuilinn, quick to add her voice to the discussion.

Taking to Twitter to dismiss Leyden's apparent concerns, Evanne quoted: "Rugby is very physical" before adding: "So is giving birth."

The tweet has been celebrated by hundreds of social media users this week, with one responding: "For the love of God! Does Senator Leyden want us to go back to the days of comely maidens dancing at the crossroads?"

"Sometimes I feel like the world is going backwards," wrote one Twitter user while another added: "Reminds me a bit of the old ‘women can’t run far because their uterus’ will fall out’ adage."

Senator Leyden has since retracted his remarks, issuing a statement, reading: "I regret the offence caused to Women’s rugby by my recent comments."

"I have been contacted by a number of people regarding the participation of women in rugby and realise that my point of view was ill informed."

Oh, and one more thing while we have you! Don't forget that you can catch up on all your favourite shows for free for a month right here, so sign up now!

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Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding are due in court this morning to face rape charges.

The Ulster and Ireland rugby players have strongly denied the allegations made against them, with Stuart Olding's solicitor saying he “is anxious to clear his name in court.”

Jackson, 25, is charged with one count of rape and one count of sexual assault. Olding, 24, is charged with two counts of rape against the same woman.

The assault is alleged to have taken place in Belfast in June of last year.

Four men were arrested and questioned in relation to the incident last summer, however, they were released pending a report being submitted to prosecuters in Northern Ireland.

The two other men have been charged with lesser counts of exposure and perverting the course of justice.

The IRFU and Ulster Rugby have relieved the player from their duties until the court process is over.

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When it comes to special sporting moments, Ireland has had quite a few in 2016.

However, according to research from One4all, the Ireland rugby team’s defeat of the almighty All Blacks for the first time in 111 years was the nation’s happiest sporting moment of the year – so say four out of ten people polled.

Meanwhile, the O’Donovan brothers revealing their ‘steak, spuds and pull like a dog’ strategy to RTÉ Sport was chosen as the second happiest sporting occasion of 2016 (13 percent). And the memorable moment Robbie Brady scored against Italy in Euros 2016 came a close third with 12 percent.

The survey, which was carried out among 1,352 adults in Ireland, furthermore revealled that the week-long Irish heatwave in July was the happiest non-sporting moment in Ireland this year (39 percent), followed by the 1916 centenary celebrations at the GPO – close-to a third of people felt that was the year's high point. 

It seems President Michael D has put a smile on quite a few people’s faces in 2016 with 14 percent of Irish adults saying the photo of him queueing to use an ATM was one of their happiest non-sporting moments of the year.

One4all also revealed that eight in ten adults say that they feel happier at Christmas time than any other time of the year – with Christmas Eve being more exciting for most than the big day itself. 

The brand said in response to the findings: “It’s great to know that for most people, 2016 has been a happy year. From special sporting moments and monumental events to spending time with your family and friends, it’s clear that happiness comes in all shapes and sizes.  “

“This Christmas you can make your gift personal by giving a One4all gift card and let your loved one choose something that will make them smile, bringing them some extra happiness to top off 2016!”

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It's mighty cold out there lads, so we have the utmost respect for people heading to the match today (well, a few pints might warm you all up!).

And as our fair green isle gets ready to battle the great Down Under, here we have the best tweets from everyone heading along this evening.

Whether you're watching it in the pub or are already taking your seat in the Aviva Stadium, we hope you have the absolute craic tonight:

Good luck, lads!

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