Cork and Kerry will be playing at Croke Park in this spring’s Lidl Ladies Football National League as the Ladies Gaelic Football announced yesterday that those two Ladies sides will play in Dublin headers against the reigning All Ireland Champions of Dublin.
Last year saw Dublin and Mayo play in advance of the Men’s match and the experience obviously counted as both were back in September before a record crowd of 46,235 for the All Ireland Final.
The Official launch of the Lidl Ladies Football National Leagues will not take place for a couple of weeks yet but there is already excitement around it with this double ‘doubleheader’ announcement and a third to take place between Dublin and Mayo in Castlebar.
On February 10 Cork will be in town in defence of their National League Division One crown and with an itch to scratch after the praise heaped on Dublin after their own long-term dominance of the All Ireland series over the last decade.
With the Cork men only playing again at Division Two this season, that game will precede the Men’s Allianz League game between Dublin and Donegal.
February 24th will see Dublin travelling in two buses to Elvery’s MacHale Park for a double repeat of last year’s All Ireland Finals.
On March 3, It will be a full-on doubleheader with the Women and the Men of Dublin and Kerry facing each other.
In total, eight Lidl NFL ties are set to serve as curtain-raisers ahead of matches involving the men’s teams from the host counties.
Five of the eight games are high-profile Lidl NFL Division 1 showdowns, with another three games in Division 2 also confirmed yesterday
Monaghan will welcome Kerry in Division 1 on Sunday, February 11, before the Monaghan men take on Kerry at Páirc Grattan, Inniskeen.
On the same day, TG4 Connacht champions Galway tackle beaten 2017 All-Ireland finalists Mayo at Pearse Stadium in Salthill, before the Galway and Mayo men battle it out.
In Division 2, Armagh, Cavan and Tyrone will get the chance to line out in home fixtures ahead of the men’s teams from the respective counties.
Now there needs to be the same energy go into drawing a crowd early for these games to match that of September when clubs pushed hard to bring a crowd. The audience for Blues Sisters, the RTÉ documentary will add to the excitement in Dublin, especially given that the Leinster Championship will only consist of one game at Senior level and that taking place in Carlow.
The risk of a loss of momentum that this gives rise to can hopefully be pushed to one side by a strong turn out and heightened awareness of the Lidl National League campaign.
Image Credit: Inpho Photography