Call to break attendance record at Sunday’s TG4 All-Ireland ladies football finals
LADIES gaelic football president Marie Hickey has made one final call to arms before Sunday’s TG4 All-Ireland ladies football finals, urging all football fans to help “change the record” at the big treble-header in Croke Park.
Last year’s final attracted 31,083 but the record attendance for the women’s finals was actually 15 years ago when 33,000 attended the 2001 finals, where Laois stopped Mayo’s three in-a-row dream and won their only senior title.
Now, following Lidl’s massive publicity campaign in 2016, the Ladies Football Association (LGFA) are hoping to beat that and Hickey believes that should start with members of the LGFA itself.
“It is time to stop depending on outside influences but instead look inwards and begin rallying our own support base of over 170,000 members,” she said.
‘We would like to urge our great members and supporters to make a special effort to come to Croke Park on Sunday. We have enjoyed one of the best championships we have ever had and the entertainment on the field has been absolutely top class.
“If our sport is to take the next step forward, out of the shadow of other sports, then setting a new attendance record of over 33,000 will make a huge difference,” she added.
Sunday will be the culmination of a season that has thrown up some particularly thrilling action in both the Lidl National League and the TG4 Championship.
Both of the intermediate semi-finals went to extra-time and Kildare are looking to reverse their result in last year’s final which they lost to Waterford. Their only change since their semi-final is Michaela Nolan replacing Rachel Reidy at wing-back.
They meet another top Munster side now in Clare, who caused a big surprise by ousting Munster intermediate champions Tipperary in their semi-final and have already won an Intermediate title in 2009 after losing the final in 2008.
Clare have made three changes to their side. Ciara Harvey and Eva O’Dea are out injured and replaced by Emma O’Driscoll and Becky Mahon while Shauna Harvey has been named at corner-back in place of Laura Egan.
The day starts with the junior final (at 11:45am), featuring Longford against Antrim.
Longford lead 2-1 on their earlier meetings this year, this is their third junior final appearance but first since 1997 and they’re up against an Antrim side who are hoping to win a third title since 2009.
Antrim show four changes from their semi-final line-up. Christine Drain comes into goal, Sarah Haughey comes into the full-back line, Stephanie Cochrane starts in place of Nicole Kelly and Aine Devlin comes in for Áine Tubridy.
Longford have four changes since their semi-final with Michelle Kilkenny, Sinead Hughes, Eimear Dooley and Emer Heaney all now in from the start.
The day will climax with the senior final where standard-bearers Cork are looking to create another record by winning a sixth title in-a-row and 11th title in 12 years, which would also see them join Kerry as the most successful county ever in ladies’ gaelic history.
Cork’s only change for the big game is Áine O’Sullivan coming in at corner-forward in place of Libby Coppinger.
But to make more history they’ve got to beat Dublin, who, after losing the last two finals to them, are on a revenge mission. The Jackies’ only change since beating Mayo is Molly Lamb coming into midfield to replace Sorcha Furlong.
TG4, who have sponsored the championships since 2001, will have live coverage of all three games but nothing beats being there on the biggest day of all in the ladies’ gaelic football calendar.
CORK – M O’Brien; M Ambrose, B Stack, R Phelan; V Foley, D O’Reilly, S Kelly; R Buckley, B Corkery; A Walsh, C O’Sullivan (Capt), O Farmer; A O’Sullivan, D O’Sullivan, O Finn.
DUBLIN – C Trant; O Carey, D Murphy, L Caffrey; S Goldrick, S Finnegan, N Collins; L Magee, M Lamb; N Healy (Capt), N Owens, C Rowe; N McEvoy, S Ahearne, L Davey.
CLARE – E O’Driscoll; K McCormack, L Ryan (Capt), S Harvey; R Considine, E O’Gorman, G Harvey; L Henchy, B Mahon; S Bohannon, A Considine, N Keane; C Hickey, N O’Dea, G Nolan.
KILDARE – M Hulgraine; T Duggan, P Keatley, R Cribbin; S Kendrick, A Savage, M Nolan; E Burke, A Holton (Capt); R Byrne, M Moolick, E Connolly; M McKenna, N Earley, E Dowling.
ANTRIM – C Drain; S Tennyson, E Kelly, S Haughey; E Mallon, S Cochrane, J McCavana (Capt); C Carey, D O’Kane; M Cooper, C Timoney, M McGourty; A McFarland, E Gallagher, A Devlin.
LONGFORD – M Kilkenny; S Hughes, L Keegan, M O’Reilly; C Farrell, E Dooley, M Moore; J Brady, M Reynolds (Capt); C Delaney, O Noonan, AM Bratton; A Greene, E Heaney, L Burke.
Sunday, September 25 – all in Croke Park
TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Junior Football Championship Final
Antrim v Longford, 11.45am, Jonathan Murphy.
TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Junior Intermediate Championship Final
Clare v Kildare – 1.45, Keith Delahunty.
TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship Final
Cork v Dublin, 4.0, Brendan Rice.
Ticket info: Tickets are available by visiting tickets.ie
Prices: Adults €25, Students and OAPs €10, U14s €5
Group tickets available by contacting the Ladies Gaelic Football Association – 01-8363156 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rates: Groups of U16s with a minimum of 10 children and one adult - €5 each
Family tickets – 2 adults and 2 children - €60
Tickets also available through usual GAA outlets.
Show your #SeriousSupport at the TG4 Ladies All-Ireland Football Championship Final on September 25th in Croke Park. Get your tickets here!