This year’s TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-finals in Ladies Football will be played as a double header at Croke Park on Sunday, August 25.
Last year the same games took place at Hyde Park in Roscommon but moving them to Croke Park is seen as a big statement in terms of giving the players a chance to experience the venue in advance of Finals day three weeks later and also at attracting a bigger crowd.
The final last year brok through 50,141 in attendance, setting a new record and the biggest crowd to watch any Women’s sporting eveny in Europe. Now the goal is to expand the crowds that are going to matches in the build up and deepening the connection that fans have with teams and players.
It has also been confirmed that the TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate semi-finals on August 17 will be played at Nowlan Park, Kilkenny.
The use of larger GAA venues is a key element of this year’s Championship. Dublin wil play their opening game in the Round Robin stage at O’Moore Park in Portlaoise this Saturday and there are a number of Double Headers planned with Roscommon and Leitrim starting their campaign as the second of three matches on the same bill as Roscommon against Tyrone in the Men’s football.
TG4 has been sponsor of the Championship for 19 years and is committed this year to to screening 17 Championship fixtures, beginning next Saturday, July 13 with a double header featuring Dublin against Waterford after Kerry take on Galway.
The live double-header on Saturday July 20, featuring Donegal v Tyrone and Cork v Cavan will be played at TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar.
A week later, on Saturday July 27, Bord Na Móna O’Connor Park in Tullamore will host Mayo v Donegal and Armagh v Cork, two games which will also be shown live by TG4.
As we build up to the opening round this weekend we will have exclusive interviews with Helen O’Rourke, CEO of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association, Alan Esslemont, CEO of TG4 and Gráinne McElwain who will host TG4’s coverage.
“TG4 is extremely proud once more to be the main sponsors for the 2019 LGFA All-Ireland Ladies Football Championship, said Esslemont yesterday.”
“The comprehensive coverage we give to the games – at all levels – show the importance that TG4 places on this wonderful sport, which is growing in popularity year on year.”
“It is yet another great example of our unique heritage and we are extremely proud of the wonderful partnership that has been built between the LGFA and TG4 over the years.
“TG4 is also delighted to be supporting the ‘20 x 20 – Women in Sport’ initiative, which is aiming to increase the profile of women’s sport at all levels”
“We’ve already witnessed some brilliant football in the provincial competitions, added LGFA President Marie Hickey.
“We are also delighted to announce that our 2019 TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-finals will be played at Croke Park on Sunday, August 25.
“This is another huge step forward for our Association and it will be great to watch the four semi-finalists battle it out at Croke Park for coveted places in the Final.
“I would also like to reference our National League sponsors and official retail partners Lidl, who will work closely alongside TG4 in the promotion of our Championship games along the road to Croke Park.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the GAA for their cooperation as we now look forward to not one, but two, huge occasions at Croke Park in August and September.
“Our colleagues in the GAA have also helped us to secure county grounds for many of our top-level games in the early rounds of the All-Ireland series.
“Ladies Football continues to lead the way in Irish women’s sport and after setting yet another attendance record for our TG4 All-Ireland Finals in 2018, we’re aiming to go even higher again in September.
“We need the help of clubs and counties to achieve that, and I’d appeal to all sports fans, at home and abroad, to get behind our magnificent players and follow their progress as they set out on their potential journeys to Croke Park, via the All-Ireland series.
In the Senior Championship, four qualifier groups will contain three teams in each.
Each team will play two games each in their respective groups and, from there, eight quarter-finalists will emerge.
The TG4 Intermediate and Junior championships will be keenly contested once again and are sure to produce some cracking fare.
Meath, beaten Intermediate Finalists last year, will hope to go one better but they’ll face stiff opposition from Tipperary, the Intermediate Champions from two years ago, and Wexford, who defeated Meath in the Leinster Final.
Roscommon, who retained their Connacht title, will also fancy their chances and, in total, there are 14 counties in the running for the Mary Quinn Memorial Cup.
The TG4 junior championship will feature six counties including 2018 runners-up Louth.
Antrim, who beat Fermanagh to win the Ulster title, are another impressive outfit, while Carlow, Derry and London are also in the race.
Image Credit: Eoin Noonan, Sportsfile