Lidl Ireland have unveiled the findings of their latest State of the Nation research which examines the impact participation in sport has on female secondary school students (girls 12-18 years of age).

From today, Monday, September 4th, Lidl is also launching its Lidl Plus LGFA Rewards scheme to support funding for Ladies Gaelic Football teams in secondary schools around the country.

Lidl first commissioned research on the attitudes of young females towards participation in sport in 2017 producing the first State of the Nation report which gave a unique insight into the views of females 12-18 years of age.

This latest Lidl research revisits the attitudes of young females to participation in sport following the disruption of the COVID pandemic. The research was carried out by Spark in August 2023 canvassing 350 females nationwide aged between 12-18 years.

It reveals that body confidence has increased among female secondary school students since 2017. While overall body confidence has increased from 28% to 36%, girls that play sport are significantly more likely to have high levels of body confidence (40%) compared to girls who do not play sport (25%).

The number of girls who believe their mental wellbeing is strong has declined from 52% in 2017 to 43% in 2023 but 49% of girls that play sport report strong levels of mental wellbeing compared to just 29% of those that do not play sport.

Among the benefits of playing sport cited by girls in the research was that it is good for your physical health (73%), increased mental wellbeing (49%), increased energy levels (49%), lifelong friendships (42%) and increased confidence (39%).

These are the kind of numbers that need to be known and acted upon by every secondary school in the country, and before that in Primary school so that the kind of opportunities needed to instil a lifelong love of sport are in place at the right time.

Female secondary school student participation in sport is flourishing, with 50% stating that they currently play sport compared to 39% in 2017, highlighting that the focus on promoting women’s sport such as Lidl’s partnership with the LGFA has had a positive impact.

The pandemic though did have an impact on those that were playing but are no longer. One in five of those who stopped participating claimed they stopped playing sport during COVID and never returned. One in three said they lost interest in sport as a result of the pandemic while almost one in two (47%) said they found it hard to return to sport after the lockdown.

The top five most important factors for girls aged 12-18 years to participate in sport are: a Shared Experience with Friends (66%), a Fun Training Environment (59%), Quality Coaching (36%), Representing their School or Community (34%) and Access to Good Facilities (25%).

Ladies Gaelic Football is the leading sport according to the research, with 41% playing the game while 28% are playing Camogie, 25% are playing soccer and 21% are playing Basketball.

51% of 12-14-year-old girls who play a team sport are playing Ladies Gaelic Football.

“This is an important piece of research which gives a fantastic insight into the positive role sport can play in the lives of female secondary school students,” said JP Scally, CEO of Lidl Ireland.

“In particular, we are pleased to see girls’ participation in sport grow from 39% to 50% since our research in 2017, as well as the growing popularity of Ladies Gaelic Football as their sport of choice. ”

“Through the Lidl Plus Rewards scheme we have invested more than €575,000 in LGFA clubs over the past two years. The State of the Nation research illustrates how vital our schools are in keeping girls connected to sport. Promotion and funding are vital to keep the momentum going and we hope to make a similar impact in supporting Ladies Gaelic Football in secondary schools this year through the rewards scheme.”

“It’s fantastic to see that there has been an uplift in positivity around body confidence as this is a massive issue for teenage girls,” added Carla Rowe, Dublin All-Ireland winning captain, post-primary school teacher and Lidl Ambassador.

“We cannot underestimate the impact COVID has had on this age group, particularly in relation to their mental wellbeing. Over the past 6 years there has been huge growth in female participation and sponsors like Lidl have played a major role in supporting that growth, not just in LGFA but in women’s sport in general. ”

“This latest initiative from Lidl, providing resources for Ladies Gaelic Football in secondary schools will help to keep teenage girls in sport, developing life skills and life-long friendships.”

“This is another vital piece of research from Lidl Ireland which provides so many valuable findings that we can absorb and take on board.,” said Micheál Naughton, President of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association.

“We have enjoyed a wonderful partnership with Lidl Ireland since 2016 and their work from grassroots level to the elite stage has helped to elevate our sport to unprecedented levels. ”

“As well as investing at a local level in schools and clubs with various initiatives, Lidl Ireland are also conscious of the wider picture and how our players are coping with the various demands of not only football but everyday life. It is hugely encouraging to note that girls participation in sport continues to grow and long may this continue. ”

“It’s also heartening to read about the positive impact on body confidence and mental wellbeing that involvement in sport can bring. I applaud Lidl Ireland on another excellent piece of research and well done to all involved in putting the State of the Nation report together.”



Launching today Monday 4th September 2023, the Lidl Plus LGFA Rewards Scheme is focusing support on secondary schools where Ladies Gaelic Football is played and all Lidl shoppers are encouraged to show #SeriousSupport for their local school.

From today, Monday, 4th September until Sunday 22nd October, every time you spend €40 in-store and scan the Lidl Plus app, you earn a stamp. Six stamps will fill your stamp card which you can assign to your local school via the Lidl Plus app. Schools that receive 50 stamp cards or more secure a set of Lidl-sponsored jerseys and will also automatically qualify to be in with a chance to win €50,000 to invest in facilities, equipment, or resources for Ladies Gaelic Football in their school.

The first 10,000 shoppers to complete a stamp card will receive a limited edition LGFA 50th Anniversary Jersey designed by seven-year-old Aoife Callanan from Cork who plays Ladies Gaelic Football for Courcey Rovers.

All schools that receive 50 completed stamp cards will automatically be nominated to take part in the Lidl #SeriousSupport Schools Programme – a joint partnership with the LGFA and Youth Sports Trust. This incredibly impactful and popular programme sees current and former inter-county players share their experiences in sport with students via assembly talks and skill-building workshops.