FOOTBALL: All to play for as 2022 Lidl National Leagues get underway
Compiled by Jackie Cahill (Photo (c) Sportsfile)
WHAT promises to be a fascinating 2022 Lidl Ladies National Football League campaign gets underway on Saturday with the meeting of TG4 All-Ireland Senior Champions Meath and Cork in Navan (1.30pm).
There are three other Division 1 fixtures on the agenda over the weekend, as Donegal and Galway clash in Ballybofey (7.30pm) on Saturday (LIVE, TG4), while Mayo take on Westmeath at the Connacht GAA Dome at 7pm, also on Saturday.
There’s one Division 1 fixture on Sunday, as Lidl NFL Division 1 Champions Dublin travel to Fraher Field, Dungarvan, for a 2pm start against Waterford.
Cork, Meath, Dublin and Waterford are pitted together in Division 1B, as Donegal, Galway, Mayo and Westmeath aim for the two semi-final slots from Division 1A.
There’s also a full schedule of action in Divisions 2, 3 and 4 on Sunday, with all games bar the Donegal-Galway TG4 fixture available to view on the LGFA’s live-streaming subscription service: https://page.inplayer.com/lgfaseason2022/
All fixtures 2pm unless stated
Saturday February 12:
Lidl NFL Division 1A:
Donegal v Galway; MacCumhaill Park, Ballybofey, 7.30pm – Live on TG4
Donegal were semi-finalists last year and will quietly fancy their chances of getting out of a group that also contains Galway, Mayo and Westmeath.
TG4 All Star Geraldine McLaughlin is a proven score-getter in the Donegal attack, with Karen Guthrie providing more experience in that inside line.
Galway are still searching for a manager following the recent departure of Gerry Fahy, with Maghnus Breathnach and Fiona Wynne taking charge of team affairs for this one.
None of the Kilkerrin-Clonberne players are included in the Galway set-up for this one as they savour their recent club success, while Donegal will be looking to get off to a winning start on home soil, with Maxi Curran in charge once again this year.
Donegal had the upper hand when the sides met in the League last year, but Galway had their revenge in the group stages of the TG4 Championship.
The Donegal team will be captained by Niamh McLaughlin, with TG4 All Star Geraldine McLaughlin leading the attack from corner forward.
Donegal progressed to the semi-finals last year but lost out to Cork, who were then defeated by Dublin in the Final.
Donegal (v Galway): R McCafferty; S McFadden, E McGinley, N Boyle; N Carr, F McManamon, T Hegarty; Nicole McLaughlin, R Rodgers; S White, Niamh McLaughlin (capt.), S Twohig; B McLaughlin, K Guthrie, G McLaughlin.
Galway (v Donegal): A Griffin; S Molloy, E Gavin, A Ní Cheallaigh; K Geraghty, C Cooney, F Cooney; A Davoren, S Ní Loingsigh; L Coen, M Seoighe (capt.), L Finnegan; A O’Rourke, A Trill, L Booth.
Mayo v Westmeath; The Dome, Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence, 7pm
Mayo are without a host of key players due to injury and other factors as they prepare for the visit of Westmeath to the Connacht GAA Air Dome.
Mayo are captained by Shauna Howley but a number of key players, including Ella Brennan, Clodagh McManamon, Ciara McManamon, Roisin Durkin and Dayna Finn, are currently unavailable.
The Westerners contested League and All-Ireland semi-finals last year, losing out in both to Dublin, and they will hope to be competitive again in 2022.
Michael Moyles takes charge of Mayo against a Westmeath team with former Roscommon boss Michael Finneran now at the helm.
For Westmeath, 2021 was a brilliant season. They avoided relegation from the top flight and went on then to land the TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate crown at Croke Park.
They’ll look to preserve Division 1 status again before thoughts turn to the Leinster Championship and All-Ireland series.
Sean Finnegan guided Westmeath to TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate glory in 2021 but he’s now in charge of Kildare.
Westmeath have flirted with relegation from the top flight in recent times but preserved Division 1 status last year with a relegation play-off victory over Tipperary.
Mayo (v Westmeath): A Tarpey; E Ronayne, S El Massry, S Lally; T O’Connor, F McHale, N Hession; S Cafferky, A Geraghty; S Mulvihill, L Cafferky; S Howley (capt.); R Baynes, C Whyte, M Reilly.
Westmeath (v Mayo): A Temple; M Fagan, L Power, A Alford; C Blundell (capt.), F Coyle, C Kelly; A Ruane, T Dillon; A Jones, L McCartan, K Boyce-Jordan; S Dillon, K Hegarty, S Lyons.
Lidl NFL Division 1B:
Meath v Cork; Páirc Tailteann, Navan, 1.30pm
Meath begin the season as TG4 All-Ireland Senior Champions and they’re also preparing for life in the top flight after gaining promotion from Division 2 last year.
Manager Eamonn Murray is going with 12 of his TG4 All-Ireland winning team for the visit of Cork, who will be smarting still from losing out to Meath in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final in dramatic circumstances.
TG4 Senior Players’ Player of the Year, Vikki Wall, Bridgetta Lynch and Orla Byrne are the players not named to start on this occasion, although Wall and Byrne are on the bench.
Shauna Ennis will captain the team once again against Cork, who have new manager Shane Ronayne at the helm.
Ronayne has given the Mourneabbey contingent some time to recover following their currentaccount.ie All-Ireland Final loss to Kilkerrin-Clonberne, with vice-captain Melissa Duggan on captaincy duty in the absence of Mourneabbey’s Maire O’Callaghan.
Ronayne was also in charge of that Mourneabbey outfit, as he also prepared for the start of the Lidl League campaign.
This is the first game of the 2022 Lidl NFL campaign and it promises to be an excellent tie between the two teams who will harbour genuine League title ambitions.
Meath (v Cork): M McGuirk; K Newe, M.K. Lynch, O Duff; S Ennis (capt.), E Troy, A Cleary; M O’Shaughnessy, O Lally; M Thynne, A Leahy, E Duggan; C Smyth, S Grimes, N O’Sullivan.
Cork (v Meath): M O’Brien; M Ambrose, R Phelan, M Cahalane; L O’Mahony, M Duggan (capt.), E O’Shea; A Hutchings, S Kelly; E Cleary, Á O’Sullivan, D Kiely; S O’Leary, K Quirke, O Finn.
Sunday February 13:
Lidl NFL Division 1B:
Waterford v Dublin; Fraher Field, Dungarvan
Champions Dublin make the trip to Waterford for their opening fixture in the 2022 Lidl National League.
The Sky Blues have five of the team that lined out against Meath in last September’s TG4 All-Ireland Final in their starting line-up, with four more on bench.
Manager Mick Bohan has included Leah Caffrey, Orlagh Nolan, Martha Byrne, Jennifer Dunne and Hannah Tyrrell in his starting line-up for the Division 1B clash.
Four players who lined out from the start against Meath are named on the bench, namely Niamh Collins, Lyndsey Davey, Niamh Hetherton and Siobhan Killeen, while Bohan hands senior League debuts to Jess Tobin at corner back and midfielder Kate McDaid.
Nicole Owens and Kate Sullivan are both in the team and they’ll be high on confidence after landing currentaccount.ie All-Ireland Intermediate club medals with St Sylvester’s.
Sub-goalkeeper Emer Ní Eafa returns to the Dublin panel having last played in 2017, while returning Natalia Hyland, who’s also listed on the bench, played in the 2014 TG4 All-Ireland Final loss to Cork.
Dublin defeated Waterford in the TG4 Championship last year and the Déise have Pat Sullivan back for a second spell at the helm.
Sullivan previously served a successful four-year term before stepping down in 2018.
Karen McGrath will captain the Waterford team as they look to spring a surprise on home soil.
Dublin (v Waterford): A Shiels; J Tobin, L Caffrey, H Leahy; O Nolan, M Byrne (capt.), A Kane; J Dunne, K McDaid; K Sullivan, N Owens, C O’Connor; O Whyte, H Tyrrell, J Egan.
Waterford (v Dublin): E Gallagher; M Dunford, C McGrath, R Casey; A Mullaney, Karen McGrath (capt.), L Cusack; E Murray, L Mulcahy; B McMaugh, H Power, M Wall; K Murray, C Fennell, Kate McGrath.
Lidl NFL Division 2A:
Kerry v Tipperary; Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney
Kerry were beaten Division 2 finalists last year and they’ll be aiming to go one better this season.
The Kingdom face a tough start, however, as Tipperary make the trip to Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney on Sunday.
The Premier County suffered relegation from Division 1 last year but they did survive in the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship after seeing off Tyrone in a relegation play-off. Tipp have a new manager in Peter Creedon, who’s a former men’s county team boss.
Kerry (v Tipperary): C Butler; C O’Brien, K Cronin, J O’Sullivan; A O’Connell, E Costello, C Murphy; M O’Connell, A Galvin (capt.); N Carmody, C Evans, N Ní Chonchúir; K Brosnan, R Dwyer, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh.
Tipperary (v Kerry): L Fitzpatrick; E Moore, L Morrissey, E Cronin; S English, A.R. Kennedy, C Davey; C Kennedy, E Kelly; M Murphy, M Creedon, C O’Dwyer; M Curley (capt.), E Morrissey, A McGuigan.
Laois v Clare; Crettyard GAA Club
Laois captured the Division 3 crown last year and will now be looking for a successful campaign in the second tier.
They were also 2021 TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate semi-finalists and hopes are high that the O’Moore County can make further progress under manager Donie Brennan.
Clare make the trip to Crettyard looking to improve on last year’s League showing, when they finished third in Division 2A.
Laois (v Clare): E Barry; C Dunne, A Potts, A Kelly (capt.); R Williams, E Healy, A Healy; J Moore, O Hennessy; E Lawlor, M Corbett, E Fitzpatrick; M Nerney, L.M. Maher, S Havill.
Clare (v Laois): M Glynn; O Devitt (capt.), T Kelly; G Harvey, S Ní Chonaill, L Ryan, R Looney; E O’Gorman, A Reidy; L Griffin, A Keane, A Sexton; C Moloney, C Callinan, F Marrinan.
Lidl NFL Division 2B:
Cavan v Monaghan; St Aidan’s, Templeport
Cavan won’t need reminding of their last Senior clash with Monaghan.
In the 2021 TG4 Championship, now retired Ciara McAnespie struck a late goal to stun Cavan.
It was a result that preserved Monaghan’s Senior status, while Cavan were sent to the relegation play-offs, where they would survive.
Cavan did win, however, when the sides met in the League last year.
Cavan (v Monaghan): E Walsh; R Doonan, S Lynch, M Sheridan; S Greene, L Fitzpatrick (capt.), M Smith; S McKenna, N Byrd; N Keenaghan, L McVeety, A Gilsenan; A Rooney, G Sheridan, G Smith.
Monaghan (v Cavan): R Mooney; M Monaghan, J Duffy, L Garland; A McCarey, R Courtney, E Traynor; J McQuillan, C Mulligan; A Garland, M Atkinson (capt.), L Jones; C Treanor, C McBride, E Clerkin.
Armagh v Tyrone; Wolfe Tone GAC, Derrymacash
Armagh could be a team to watch in 2022, as they target another good championship run and potential promotion.
The Orchard County were TG4 All-Ireland senior semi-finalists in 2020 but lost out to Meath at the quarter-final stage last year.
Tyrone, meanwhile, suffered relegation to the Intermediate grade but they did win well against Wexford in a Division 2 relegation play-off to remain in the second tier.
Armagh won a thriller – 3-11 to 3-10 – when the sides met in the League in 2021.
Armagh (v Tyrone): A Carr; S Marley, C McCambridge, G Ferguson; T Grimes, L McConville, C Towe; N Marley, B Mackin; C Marley, F McKenna, E Lavery; A Mackin (capt.), N Reel, G Boylan.
Tyrone (v Armagh): S McVey; J Lyons, C Magee, K Murphy; E Brennan, E Hegarty, E Mulgrew; N Hughes, A McHugh; D Gallagher, EJ Gervin, L McAlary; G Rafferty, N O’Neill (capt.), N Rafferty.
Lidl NFL Division 3A:
Down v Roscommon; Páirc Esler, Newry
Roscommon progressed to a Division 3 semi-final last year – but were ousted by eventual champions Laois.
Down, meanwhile, are a team with potential and they’ll fancy their chances of embarking on a positive League run.
Northern Ireland soccer International Jessica Foy is in the Down line-up, while Roscommon are captained by Laura Fleming for this League opener.
Down (v Roscommon): C Kennedy; O Kelly, C Byrne; A McAlea, O Duffy, C McArdle, N McKibben; M Doherty (capt.), O Lavery; L Duffy, J Foy, A Keown; O Swail, N Ferris, S Dougherty.
Roscommon (v Down): H Cummins; A McGrath, R Brady, M Kelly; R Wynne, R Fitzmaurice, S Timon; K Nolan, L O’Rourke, L Fleming (capt.); F Tully, C Conway, A Hanly.
Sligo v Louth; IT Sligo
Sligo made it to a Division 3 semi-final last year but lost out to Kildare at the penultimate stage.
Their 2022 opener pits the Yeats County against Louth, fresh from winning the 2021 Division 4 title.
A win for either side here would represent an excellent start to the new season – and put them in with a shout of a coveted semi-final slot.
Sligo (v Louth): L Gaughan; A Morrisroe, M McNamara, J Lyons; C Dunne, A Egan, S Cunney; S Reynolds (capt.), R Molloy; A Haran, R O’Brien, L Powell; L Duffy, K Walsh, M McCormack.
Louth (v Sligo): U Pearson; E Hand, S Quinn, H Lambe Sally; R Carr, S McLaughlin (capt.), C Nolan; A Halligan, E Byrne; R Kavanagh, K Flood, A Russell; L Collins, N Rice, J McCourt.
Lidl NFL Division 3B:
Wexford v Kildare; Shelmalier GAA Club
Wexford lost heavily in the TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate Final last year but even getting that far was an achievement in itself on the back of their poor League campaign.
The Model County were battered by Tyrone in a Division 2 relegation play-off and will now begin life in the third tier.
They can take solace from an excellent summer run which took them to Croke Park but Kildare are a team with genuine League and TG4 Intermediate Championship ambitions this year.
Wexford (v Kildare): D Fox; C Neville, A Halligan, A Walsh; O Kehoe, N Cloke Rochford, A Byrne; R Murphy, C Banville; S Hamilton, C Murray, E O’Brien; E Tomkins, A Murphy (capt.), A Cullen.
Kildare (v Wexford): D McGinn; C Nugent, L Lenehan, F Troute; H McLoughlin, L Gilbert, M Doherty; A Rattigan, G Clifford (capt.); R Forde, L Curran, C Sullivan; N Dooley, O Sullivan, S Munnelly.
Wicklow v Longford; Aughrim, 3pm
Wicklow made up for their 2020 Final loss to land the TG4 All-Ireland Junior crown last year and they also remained in Division 3 after seeing off Fermanagh in a relegation play-off.
Experienced Wicklow player Jackie Kinch, more noted for her outfield exploits, is listed between the sticks while Lorna Fusciardi, who appeared to have announced her retirement at Croke Park last September, is named in the starting team.
Longford finished behind Kildare and Laois in the League standings last year but they did have a brilliant result in the Championship when they shocked Westmeath in their opening fixture. They would preserve Intermediate Championship status by winning a relegation play-off against Fermanagh.
Wicklow (v Longford): J Kinch; E Hadden, SJ Winders (capt.), S Hogan; S Goetelen, N McGettigan, L Fusciardi; A Gorman, J Nolan Byrne; R McGettigan, S McGettigan, N Cullen; C Fox, L Hogan, M Kealy.
Longford (v Wicklow): R McGrath; S McCormack, L Keegan (capt.), E Doris; C Farrell, K Crawford, A Noonan; M Victory, M Farrell; L McGuire, G Shannon, S Shannon; C Lohan, E Heaney, L Monaghan.
Lidl NFL Division 4A:
Leitrim v Fermanagh; Ballinamore
After losing out in the Division 4 Final last year, Leitrim will hope to get their hands on the silverware this time.
They welcome Fermanagh to Ballinamore, with the Ulster outfit on the back of League and Championship relegations last year.
Fermanagh would have hoped to build on winning the 2020 TG4 All-Ireland Junior title and a positive League campaign would go a long way towards getting them back on track.
Leitrim (v Fermanagh): M Monaghan; E Quinn, M.A. Maguire, R Cooney; A Cornyn, C Owens (capt.), C Le Guen; C Tyrrell, N Tighe; L O’Dowd, M Guckian, R McHugh; S Reynolds, L Fox, B O’Rourke.
Fermanagh (v Leitrim): M Maguire; E Keenan, A Gordon (capt.), D Curran; SJ Jones, M McGloin, A Leonard; B Bannon, C Bogue; N McManus, B Bogue, E Maguire; C McElroy, E Smyth, L Grew.
Antrim v Derry; Davitt Park
Derry edged out Antrim when the sides met in the TG4 All-Ireland Junior Championship last year – after Antrim had won the Ulster Final between the sides.
These are two teams who know plenty about each other and an Ulster derby should bring the best out of each other.
Davitt Park is the venue as Antrim, the beaten 2021 TG4 All-Ireland Junior Finalists, look to make home advantage count.
Antrim (v Derry): J Curran; E.L. McAreavey, A McFarland, N McIntosh; D Coleman, S Tennyson, M Mulholland; L Dahunsi, Á Tubridy; A Devlin, C Carey (capt.), M Woulahan; B Devlin, O Prenter, G McLaughlin.
Derry (v Antrim): O O’Kane; J Corr, D Donnelly, O McGough; E Doherty, A McGough (capt.), O McCloskey; A Ní Lochlain, D McKeever; D Kivlehan, E.R. Sainsbury, M Devine; N Browne, C McGurk, L McGonigle.
Lidl NFL Division 4B:
Offaly v Carlow; Clara
A Leinster derby sees Offaly, the 2021 Division 4 semi-finalists, taking on Carlow.
These are two teams with plenty of talent and potential in their ranks.
Carlow were unlucky to lose out to Antrim after extra-time in last year’s TG4 All-Ireland Junior semi-final, while Offaly’s League hopes were ended by eventual Division 4 winners Louth.
Offaly (v Carlow): E Evans; N Buckley, B Bryant, D Hannon; A Kehoe, E Nally, R Ennis (capt.); E Maher, A Gavin Mangan; F Dempsey, E Hand, A Carey; S Doyle, M Byrne, E McEvoy.
Carlow (v Offaly): S Cotter; O Hickey, O Fitzpatrick, K Collins; R Bermingham (capt.), E Atkinson, A Dowling; N Mohan, E Ware; N Kelly, D O’Brien, A Gilmartin; S Doyle, R Byrne, R Sawyer.
Limerick v London; Staker Wallace, Martinstown 12pm
Limerick could well emerge as serious contenders for League and All-Ireland glory this year.
The Shannonsiders were disappointed by their TG4 All-Ireland Junior semi-final loss to eventual winners Wicklow last year but will be fancied by many in a wide-open field this year.
Getting out of Division 4 of the Lidl National League would be another big step forward for Limerick, who lost to Leitrim at the semi-final stage last year.
This game marks a welcome return to the Lidl National League for visitors London, who will travel with optimism.
Limerick (v London): S Hennessy; K Reidy, S O’Sullivan, M O’Halloran; M MacNamara, L Coughlan, K Heelan; L Hanley, R Ambrose (capt.); I Kenneally, M Kavanagh, A Ryan; C Davis, G McKenna, C Mee.
London (v Limerick): C O’Reilly; N O’Brien, R Hunt, N Mulholland; N Walsh, E O’Brien, R Murphy; S Roche, C Twohig (capt.); A Shovlin, A Cunningham, B Casey; N Feeney, M O’Donnell, T Moran.