FOOTBALL: Captains gather at Croke Park ahead of 2022 TG4 All-Ireland Finals
CAPTAINS from the six competing teams have gathered at Croke Park ahead of next Sunday’s (July 31) TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Finals. (from left, Aimee Kelly of Laois, Roisin Muphy of Wexford, LGFA President Mícheál Naughton, Anna Galvin of Kerry, Shauna Ennis of Meath, Alan Esslemont, CEO TG4, Cathy Carey of Antrim and Molly McGloin of Fermanagh at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile)
With the countdown to Sunday continuing, the respective team captains; Cathy Carey (Antrim), Molly McGloin (Fermanagh), Aimee Kelly (Laois), Róisín Murphy (Wexford), Anna Galvin (Kerry) and Shauna Ennis (Meath) got a feel for Croke Park ahead of the big day.
The Senior decider pits the holders from the Royal County, Meath, against their opponents from the buoyant Kingdom of Kerry.
That game throws in at 4pm and is preceded by two provincial derbies in the Junior and Intermediate deciders.
The action gets underway at 11.45am when Antrim, the 2021 runners-up, take on Fermanagh in an all-Ulster Junior Final, before last year’s beaten Finalists, Wexford, take on Leinster opponents Laois in the Intermediate Final at 1.45pm.
Potential redemption is the name of the game for Antrim and Wexford, who lost out in the 2021 Junior and Intermediate Finals respectively.
Fermanagh are aiming for a second Junior crown in three years, while Laois are back at Croke Park since their famous TG4 All-Ireland Senior title win in 2001.
Meath, remarkably, are preparing for a fifth successive TG4 All-Ireland Final appearance.
They lost the 2018 and 2019 Intermediate deciders before a breakthrough 2020 victory in the grade.
Last year, Eamonn Murray’s charges swept all before them to land the TG4 All-Ireland Senior crown and now they face Kerry, aiming for a first Senior title since 1993.
A win for the team managed by Declan Quill and Darragh Long would put Kerry out in front on the all-time Senior roll of honours list.
They’re currently on 11 All-Ireland Senior Championship wins – a haul matched by the great Cork teams that were dominant from 2005-2016.
Indeed, this is the first year since Mayo and Monaghan clashed in 2002 that the Senior Final won’t feature Cork or Dublin.
Meath and Kerry met in competitive fare most recently at Croke Park in 2021, when Meath won the Lidl NFL Division 2 Final, but this is a first Senior Championship encounter between the counties since 2009, when Kerry won well in a knockout tie in Nenagh.
Incidentally, a win for Kerry would see the county claim a male-female All-Ireland Senior double for the first time since 1986.
Sunday will also see the 2022 Lidl National League Divisions 1 and 2 champions in opposition.
Meath are top-flight holders and aiming to retain the Brendan Martin Cup, while Kerry defeated Armagh to lift the Division 2 crown in April and gain promotion to Division 1 for 2023.
To whet the appetite of attendees and TV viewers ahead of Sunday’s Croke Park triple-header, TG4’s Ceiliúradh Peil na mBan, presented by Máire Ní Bhraonáin, will air from 8:55pm on Saturday evening.
The programme will visit all six counties playing in the Junior, Intermediate and Senior deciders.
This celebratory programme will feature music from each of the counties, with former players reflecting on the 2022 Championships so far and looking ahead to Sunday’s big games.
Spórt TG4 will also have exclusive behind the scenes action from the TG4 All-Ireland Finals Day in Croke Park across its social media channels.
In addition, Spórt Iris will come from Croke Park on Friday evening (9pm), with Kerry footballing legend Dara Ó Cinnéide on hand to speak to a panel of experts ahead of the weekend’s action, while Gemma Ní Chionnaith will get the latest news and updates from the camps across the country.
All of TG4’s LGFA coverage will be available to audiences globally on the TG4 Player at www.tg4.ie/beo and on the TG4 Mobile and Smart TV App.
Looking ahead, and reflecting on another outstanding season of partnership, TG4 Director General Alan Esslemont said: “TG4 is delighted in 2022 to have agreed our longest-ever contract with the LGFA, a five-year extension of our sponsorship of the All-Ireland Ladies Football inter-county championships, with the new deal set to last until the conclusion of the 2027 season.
“In our new agreement with the LGFA, TG4 commits over the five years to gradually strengthen our live coverage of LGFA competitions and develop new linear and digital content which reflects and supports the LGFA community in Ireland and internationally.
“We also pledge to produce a raft of high-quality programming which will celebrate the LGFA’s 50th anniversary in 2024.
“I see this as a redoubling and intensification of TG4’s most important sporting partnership and I’d like to pay tribute to Uachtarán Micheál Naughton, Chief Executive Helen O’Rourke and all of her wonderful staff who make our partnership both a privilege and a pleasure.
“Slowing emerging from the Covid pandemic, it is proper that we celebrate to the full extent wonderful days like the LGFA 2022 TG4 All-Ireland Championship Finals.
“I believe also that, post Covid, minoritised parts of our society, including women’s sport and the Irish language, should challenge the state to imagine a vision for the future, an investment in a reimagined future, where fair play is truly applied to both gender and language . Ní béalghrá ach cothrom na féinne.”
Mícheál Naughton, President of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association, added: “For the first time since 2019, we are in the position where we can hold our TG4 All-Ireland Finals free from Covid-19 restrictions, which in itself is a reason to celebrate.
“It’s incredible to think that next Sunday will mark the conclusion of the 22nd year of our long-standing relationship with Championship sponsors TG4. To launch the 2022 TG4 All-Ireland Championships, we were delighted to announce a five-year extension of our partnership. Our new deal with TG4 will last until the conclusion of the 2027 season and I wish to put on the record my sincere thanks to TG4 Director
General, Alan Esslemont, Head of Sport, Rónán Ó Coisdealbha, and the entire TG4 team for their outstanding commitment to our sport. The #ProperFan campaign continues to capture the imagination of Ladies Football fans and you can follow the hashtag online today to join in the conversation.”
Next Sunday is also a big day for the three match referees, with two of them gracing Croke Park on TG4 All-Ireland Finals day for the first time.
Junior Final referee Kevin Corcoran and Intermediate Final referee Siobhán Coyle have both taken charge of TG4 All-Ireland Finals in the past – but at different venues.
Kevin, from Mayo, was the man in the middle for the 2017 Junior Final replay between Derry and Fermanagh in Clones, while Donegal representative Siobhán oversaw the 2020 Junior Final featuring Fermanagh and Wicklow at Parnell Park.
For Senior Final referee Maggie Farrelly, this will be a third TG4 All-Ireland Final appearance at Croke Park.
The Cavan native was referee for the 2007 TG4 All-Ireland Junior Final between Kilkenny and London, as well as the 2014 Senior decider when Cork got the better of Dublin in a classic encounter.
Tickets for Sunday’s games are priced at €25 for adults, €10 for students and OAPs, and €5 for U18s.
Group rates are available only from the LGFA Office: 10 x U-18 €5 each & 1 Adult @€5 (for every group of 10 U-18).
Tickets for the TG4 All Ireland finals are available to purchase through the LGFA Office and all GAA ticket outlets or phone: 01-8363156, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also purchase online via https://bit.ly/3BeD1dO
Sunday July 31
11.45am – TG4 All-Ireland Junior Championship Final – Antrim v Fermanagh
1.45pm – TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate Championship Final – Laois v Wexford
4pm – TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship Final – Kerry v Meath
Friday 9pm – Spórt Iris
Saturday 8.55pm Ceiliúradh Peil na mBan
Sunday 11.35am Peil na mBan Beo
For further information, contact the LGFA’s Commercial and Communications Manager, Jackie Cahill: email@example.com