The Lidl Ladies Football National League throws in this weekend with the All Ireland Champions Dublin back in Croke Park for a doubleheader with the Men’s team.
The direct clash with Ireland against England in the Guinness Six Nations at the Aviva Stadium will likely impact somewhat on numbers but it is to be hoped that there will be a good turnout for the game.
Sport for business caught up with Lidl Head of Communications Aoife Clarke this week and spoke with here about the brand’s plans for the year ahead.
“We are excited to be back for the fourth year of our partnership with Ladies Football,” she told us.
“It was the first major sponsorship we had entered into after twenty years in Ireland and it has been a real winner for us around the country.”
“While managed centrally there has been a great buy-in from our staff and management around our 159 stores.”
“There is an always-on presence in store and the heart of our campaign for 2019 puts us at the heart of local communities once more.”
“Research we conducted throughout the partnership has shown the importance in young girls lives of being active in playing sport and the work we have done with mental health charity Jigsaw has also highlighted the wellbeing and emotional benefits as well as the physical ones.”
“Societal pressure at this time of life can be very intense and the presence of strong role models to help get through the challenges of growing up cannot be underestimated.”
“This year we are investing €250,000 in a campaign to distribute kit and equipment to 159 post-primary schools and we are going further by running a pilot mentorship programme where we will bring players in to talk to the girls and be real-life role models in around 20 schools around the country.”
“Which schools get the gear will be determined by communities logging the special code that has been on the bottom of every receipt in stores since Tuesday.”
It has been without doubt one of the most successful sporting partnerships of recent years and has played a part in lifting Ladies Football to a high point that could only have been imagined at the start of this decade.
Player numbers are up at every age grade and more than 50,000 attended last year’s TG4 All Ireland Final in Croke Park.
The drive this year will be to expand that attendance increase to other games and with Double Headers with the Allianz League taking place from Croke Park to Páirc Uí Chaoimh, the building blocks are in place for another successful year.
Lidl will be at the centre of it, forming a virtuous triangle with Ladies Gaelic Football and TG4. Alongside the partnerships that Camogie has with Liberty Insurance and Littlewoods Ireland, the world of Women’s Gaelic Games really is playing at the top of it’s game.
They really are showing the way.