Ladies Football weekend previews
Compiled by Jackie Cahill
THERE’S a bumper weekend of TG4 All-Ireland Championship action in store – with 13 games down for decision over Saturday and Sunday.
The Senior and Junior competitions get underway, as the Intermediate Championship continues following last Sunday’s opening round of fixtures.
There are two live games from the Senior Championship on TG4 on Saturday – as Dublin welcome Kerry to Parnell Park (5pm), before Galway host Cork at Pearse Stadium (7.30pm).
Those games can be accessed at https://www.tg4.ie/en/player/watch-live/home/, with all of the weekend’s other fixtures available to view via the LGFA’s live-streaming portal: https://bit.ly/3oktfD5
All games at 2pm unless stated
Saturday June 17
TG4 All Ireland Junior Championship
London v Derry; McGovern Park, Ruislip, 12pm
London and Derry find themselves in a competitive group that also includes Carlow and Fermanagh, who will harbour hopes of ultimate glory.
Against this backdrop, London and Derry will aim to be as competitive as possible in Group B.
Derry make the trip to London for this Championship opener against the hosts in Ruislip and this could be a close encounter.
TG4 All Ireland Senior Championship
Laois v Armagh; Laois Hire O’Moore Park, Portlaoise
Laois will have learned plenty from their TG4 Leinster Championship campaign against big-hitters Dublin and Meath.
Now, it’s time for the 2022 All-Ireland Intermediate champions to make their return to Senior Championship fare in the All-Ireland series, and they’ve a tough start in store.
Armagh landed the Lidl National League Division 2 title to gain promotion to the top flight – claiming victory over Laois at Croke Park – but they were stunned by Donegal in the recent TG4 Ulster Final.
The Orchard County are blessed with talented individuals and can compete with the very best on any given day.
A huge game for both teams as they’re in a group that also contains Connacht champions Mayo – and their Croke Park outing against each other in April will have provided some valuable information for the respective Laois and Armagh camps.
Laois: E Barry; S Farrelly, C Dunne, A Kelly; S Havill, E Healy (capt.), L Nerney; A Healy, O Hennessy; A Kirrane, L.M. Maher, G Moran, S.A. Fitzgerald, M Nerney, K Donoghue.
Armagh: A Carr; S Grey, C McCambridge, L Kenny; G Ferguson, L McConville, C Towe; N Coleman, E Lavery; B Mackin, A Mackin, E Druse; N Marley, K Mallon (capt.), A McCoy.
Donegal v Waterford; Naomh Padraig Leifear, Lifford, 1pm
Donegal slumped to relegation from Division 1 of the Lidl National League but revived their season with a stunning TG4 Ulster Senior Championship victory over Armagh on May 28.
Donegal lost out to Armagh in the round-robin phase but turned the tables in emphatic fashion to land the provincial silverware on offer.
That result has breathed fresh life into Donegal’s 2023 campaign and they meet Waterford again in the group stages.
Donegal won last year’s Championship clash but Waterford came out on top when the sides met in a League fixture in February.
All-Ireland champions Meath are also in Group 2 of the All-Ireland series and this is a pivotal tie for Donegal and Waterford.
Donegal: C Friel; N Carr; A Temple Asoko, Nicole McLaughlin; A Boyle Carr, S McGroddy, T Hegarty; E Gallagher, Niamh McLaughlin (capt.); R Rodgers, K Long, K Dowds; N Hegarty, K Herron, C McGarvey.
Waterford: E O’Brien; C Murray, Karen McGrath (capt.), A Murray; N Power, Kate McGrath, E Murray; K Murray, A O’Neill; K Hogan, A Fitzgerald, C McCarthy; S McGuckian, C Hynes, L McGregor.
Dublin v Kerry; Parnell Park, 5pm – Live on TG4
Kerry will be anxious to bounce back quickly following defeat to Cork in the TG4 Munster Final but last year’s beaten All-Ireland Finalists face a very tough assignment in their opening game in the All-Ireland series.
Dublin, fresh from Leinster Final victory over Meath, are the hosts for what promises to be a cracker in front of the TG4 cameras at Parnell Park.
Kerry stormed to Lidl National League Division 1 glory in April and will be keen now to recapture some of that early-season form as they aim for another big Championship run.
Dublin may appear to be in something of a transitional period but there have been flashes from the Sky Blues in League and Championship to date to suggest that they can feature prominently in the race for the Brendan Martin Cup.
With Cavan also in Group 3, Dublin and Kerry will fancy their chances of advancing but history has proven that nothing can be taken for granted in Championship football.
Dublin: A Shiels; N Crowley, L Caffrey, A Kane; O Nolan, M Byrne, E O’Dowd; L Magee, J Dunne; C O’Connor, J Egan, K Sullivan; F O’Connell-Bell, H Tyrrell, C Rowe (capt.).
Kerry: C Butler; E Lynch, K Cronin, C Murphy; A O’Connell, E Costello, L Galvin; L Scanlon, C Lynch; N Ní Chonchúir, S O’Shea (capt), A Galvin; H O’Donoghue, D O’Leary, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh.
Galway v Cork; Pearse Stadium, 7.30pm – Live on TG4
Galway have suffered two big-game defeats in 2023 but the start of the All-Ireland series affords the Tribeswomen the opportunity to wipe the slate clean.
They lost out to Kerry in the Lidl NFL Division 1 decider and Mayo in the Connacht Final and now attention switches to the race for All-Ireland glory.
Tipperary are the other team in Group 4 and it’s a competitive looking pool on paper.
Galway and Cork will be tipped to advance but they have plenty of work to do before quarter-final slots are assigned.
Cork are fresh from an impressive Munster Final victory over Kerry and the Rebelettes have quietly assembled a team that has a real chance of going all the way to Croke Park on August 13.
Galway: K Connolly; K Geraghty, S Ní Loingsigh (capt.), A Ní Cheallaigh; A Molloy, N Ward, H Noone; A Davoren, L Coen; S Brennan, L Ward, L Noone; T Leonard, R Leonard, O Divilly.
Cork: M O’Sullivan; A Ryan, E Meaney, R Phelan; M Duggan, S Kelly, S Leahy; A Healy, C O’Sullivan; H Looney, D O’Sullivan, K Quirke; O Cahalane, E Kiely, L Coppinger.
Sunday June 18
TG4 All Ireland Intermediate Championship
Louth v Leitrim; Cooley Kickhams
A crucial fixture in Group 1 as Leitrim battle to stay alive in the All-Ireland series.
Following defeat to Kildare last weekend, another loss here and it’ll be Louth and Kildare who are guaranteed to progress to the quarter-finals.
Leitrim scored 4-8 against Kildare in a gutsy display but they were hurt by the concession of 5-10.
Louth will have taken note of Leitrim’s strengths and weaknesses and will be well prepared for this home tie.
Clare v Wicklow, Cusack Park, Ennis
Following victory over Offaly last Sunday, Clare will take another big step towards the last eight if they can overcome Wicklow at home.
Fidelma Marrinan continued her impressive 2023 form with 0-6 for Clare in that win over the Faithful County and she’ll look to star again, this time on home soil in Ennis.
After losing out to Tyrone last Sunday, Wicklow are in must-win territory as they prepare for the trip to the Banner County.
A win for Clare here, and a Tyrone success at home to Offaly, would see the quarter-final placings secured for Clare and Tyrone after two rounds, should results pan out like that.
Tyrone v Offaly, O’Neills Healy Park, Omagh
Tyrone, given their relatively recent Senior experience, will expect to be in the mix for All-Ireland Intermediate honours.
They got off to a winning start against Wicklow last weekend and face Leinster opposition again on Sunday, with Offaly making the trip to Omagh.
Offaly showed enough in a five-point loss to Clare to suggest that they’ll provide stiff opposition for Tyrone and the visiting Faithful County badly need a positive result.
Tyrone will hope to get their business done on home soil and if Clare also win, they’re through to the quarter-finals.
Wexford v Monaghan, Shelmalier
Wexford, beaten finalists for the past two seasons, got off to a winning start against Roscommon last Sunday, edging home with just a point to spare.
Monaghan’s 30-year stint as a Senior Championship force came to an end last year when the Farney County were relegated, and they missed out on a TG4 Ulster Intermediate Final appearance recently.
Monaghan lost to Antrim and Tyrone in the group stages but will hope for better fortunes in the All-Ireland stages.
Wexford will book a quarter-final slot if they can win this one, and leave Monaghan and Roscommon to battle it out then for the other last-eight slot.
Longford v Westmeath; Glennon Brothers Pearse Park
Westmeath’s bid to regain Senior Championship status following relegation in 2022 was dented by Antrim in last Sunday’s opening round clash.
The Saffrons are a force to be reckoned with and Westmeath’s defeat has left the Lake County in a perilous position.
If they lose to Longford, they’re out and Westmeath won’t need reminding that even though they won the All-Ireland Intermediate crown in 2021, Longford beat them in the group stages.
An intriguing battle lies in store at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, with so much at stake here.
TG4 All Ireland Junior Championship
Sligo v Down; Markievicz Park
Sligo and Down were both relegated from the Intermediate ranks in 2022 and will be looking to bounce straight back at the first attempt.
They collide in the group stages at Markievicz Park to open the 2023 All-Ireland series at Junior level and you wouldn’t back against a repeat meeting later in the season.
Down come into the All-Ireland campaign on a high after winning the Ulster Junior title, while Sligo competed in the Connacht Intermediate series for some valuable game time.
Kilkenny v Limerick; John Locke Park, Callan
Kilkenny face a tough home assignment against a Limerick team with hopes of going deep into the competition.
Limerick last won this competition in 2018 and, following relegation in 2019, they’ve contested semi-finals in each of the last three seasons.
They’ll be anxious to get back to Croke Park, with Kilkenny looking to continue their rebuilding process after returning to the Lidl National League in 2023.
Fermanagh v Carlow, Lannleire GFC, Dunleer, Co. Louth
Fermanagh lost out in last year’s TG4 All-Ireland Junior Final after a replay to Antrim.
The Erne County will aim to go one step better in this year’s competition and they begin their campaign against Carlow, who were semi-finalists in 2021 and 2022.
These are two counties with genuine All-Ireland Championship ambitions and this is a highly-competitive start for both.
Ticket details available at: https://bit.ly/43zvDF4
Weekend match programmes and full squad listings available at: https://bit.ly/3Jkcuip