A look ahead to this weekend’s Ladies NFL games

Compiled by Jackie Cahill

THE clash between Dublin and Kerry will kick-start Division 1 of the 2024 Lidl National Leagues on Saturday at Parnell Park (5.15pm).

Dublin, the reigning TG4 All-Ireland Champions, have home advantage for the visit of Kerry, who captured the Lidl NFL Division 1 crown last year.

It’s also a repeat of the 2023 TG4 All-Ireland Final between the sides and a big crowd is expected at Parnell Park.

On Sunday, Cork meet Galway, Mayo play Meath and Armagh take on Waterford in Division 1, while there is also a full schedule of fixtures in Divisions 2, 3 and 4 pencilled in for the weekend.

The eagerly-anticipated Dublin-Kerry clash will be televised live by TG4 on Saturday evening.

All games 2pm unless stated


Lidl NFL Division 1  

Dublin v Kerry; Parnell Park, 5.15pm – Live on TG4 

The Dublin team to face Kerry in Saturday’s Lidl NFL Division 1 opener contains eight of the team that started against the Kingdom in last year’s TG4 All-Ireland Senior Final.

The ‘battle of the champions’ at Parnell Park pits Dublin, the reigning TG4 All-Ireland champions, against Kerry, who captured the Lidl NFL Division 1 title in 2023.

Niamh Crowley, Leah Caffrey, Lauren Magee, Martha Byrne, Niamh Donlon, Caoimhe O’Connor, Orlagh Nolan and Jodi Egan all lined out from the start at Croke Park last August and are in from the start for this live TG4 blockbuster clash.

Carla Rowe will captain Dublin again this year and she’s named on the bench, with Leah Caffrey set to lead the Sky Blues into battle in the League opener, while the return of Olwen Carey to the Dublin set-up is a huge boost.

Opponents Kerry, meanwhile, will make the trip to the capital with five survivors from their All-Ireland Final starting 15, namely Kayleigh Cronin, Aishling O’Connell, Anna Galvin, Niamh Carmody, who will captain the county senior team this year, and Niamh Ní Chonchúir.

Clashes between these two excellent sides lit up the 2023 season, with Kerry winning the Lidl National League and group stages of the TG4 All-Ireland series, before Dublin turned the tables on All-Ireland Final day.

Dublin: R Fleming; N Crowley, L Caffrey (capt.), N Donlon; L Magee, M Byrne, H Hegarty; C Darby, O Carey; C O’Connor, O Nolan, J Egan; K Murphy, N Hetherton, A Timothy.

Kerry: M.E. Bolger; C O’Brien, D Kearney, A Dillane; C McCarthy, K Cronin, A O’Connell; A Harrington, A Galvin; N Carmody (capt.), N Ní Chonchúir, K.A. Hanrahan; K Brosnan, E Dineen, J Lucey.

Lidl NFL Division 4   

Limerick v Derry; Doon, 7pm   

Limerick got their 2024 Lidl NFL season underway with a hard-fought draw against Wicklow last Sunday.

The Shannonsiders will be looking to pick up maximum points against visitors Derry on Saturday evening in Doon but they’ll get nothing easy against the travelling Oak Leafers.

Derry already looked a much-improved outfit against Carlow last Sunday and while they fell eventually to a five-point defeat, there were plenty of positives that they can take with them on the long trip South.

Limerick: C Bateman; M Mac Namara, J McGuire, R Browne; D Murphy, E Woulfe, G Lee; C Mee, L Coughlan; K O’Leary, L Browne, C McGrath; F Bradshaw, I Kennelly, A O’Sullivan.

Derry: E Conway; S Hargan, B Donnelly, J Corr (capt.); S Heron, C McGurk, E McCluskey; C Scullion, A Martin; A Ni Lochlainn, Emma Doherty, Erin Doherty; A.R. Mulligan, C Donnelly, C Moore.


Lidl NFL Division 1  

Cork v Galway; Mallow 

It’ll be a much changed Cork with an influx of youth when the Leesiders get their 2024 Lidl National League campaign underway on Sunday.

Local media reports indicate that experienced forward Doireann O’Sullivan will not be involved this season, while Doireann’s sister Ciara and Róisín Phelan, two other vastly-experienced stars, are taking a break and will miss the League campaign.

Goalkeeper Meabh O’Sullivan and defender Eimear Meaney are both travelling, while Laura Fitzgerald and Bríd O’Sullivan have stepped away from the Cork set-up.

Galway begin life under new manager Daniel Moynihan without the services of forward Tracey Leonard, who has confirmed her inter-county retirement.

Ailbhe Davoren, who plays her club football in Dublin with county champions Kilmacud Crokes, will captain the Tribeswomen from centre half forward.

Cork: S Murphy; M Duggan, L Coppinger, D Kiniry; A McDonagh, M O’Callaghan (capt.), D Kiely; A Healy, S Cronin; E Jack, K Quirke, S O’Leary; L McDonagh, H Looney, E Cleary.

Galway: D Gower; M Jordan, S Lynch, E Gavin; K Geraghty, C Trill, A Ní Cheallaigh; M Glynn, L Coen; M Walsh, A Davoren (capt.), S Hynes; C McCarthy, A O’Rourke, A Molloy.

Mayo v Meath; Ballina Stephenites 

Mayo begin life under Liam McHale on his home soil in Ballina as Meath make the trip west for an attractive opening round tie.

Saoirse Lally will captain the green and red from full-back with veteran star Fiona McHale listed at centre forward for the home side.

Mayo reached the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-final last year and will be hoping for another good run in 2024, with Meath aiming to recapture the heady heights of 2021 and 2022, when they captured back to back TG4 All-Ireland Senior titles.

Meath also landed the Lidl NFL Division 1 crown in 2022 but they lost their grip on their League and Championship crowns last year.

Shane McCormack is the new man at the helm in the Royal County and he’ll be anxious to make the visit to Mayo a winning one.

There’s plenty of experience in the Meath starting line-up, and on the bench, with the likes of Emma Duggan and former skipper Shauna Ennis to call upon.

Former All Star goalkeeper Monica McGuirk will captain the Meath team for the 2024 season.

Mayo: L Reid; L Wallace, S Lally (capt.), E Reape, K Sullivan, D Caldwell, J Mortimer; A Geraghty, H Reape; F McLaughlin, L Cafferky, M Cannon; T Needham, F McHale, S Walsh.

Meath: M McGuirk (capt.); K Newe, A Sheridan, N Troy; N Gallogly, M.K. Lynch, A Cleary; M O’Shaughnessy, S Melia; M Thynne, E Moyles, C Smith; M Byrne, M Farrelly, A Leahy.

Armagh v Waterford; Crossmaglen, 1pm 

Armagh are back in the top flight and with a new manager at the helm in Gregory McGonigle, a vastly-experienced supremo.

McGonigle has previously managed Monaghan and Dublin at inter-county level, and he guided Armagh outfit Clann Éireann to an historic Ulster Senior club title last year.

Armagh were without injured forward ace Aimee Mackin when they crashed out of the TG4 All-Ireland series at the quarter-final stage last year but she’s back and named in the full-forward line for this Crossmaglen clash.

Clodagh McCambridge will captain Armagh from full-back and a strong Orchard County line-up also includes experienced midfielder Caroline O’Hanlon.

Visitors Waterford have named Kellyann Hogan as captain for 2024 and the Déise will be looking to pick up some points and again stave off the threat of relegation in a highly-competitive top flight.

Waterford performed well in the 2023 National League and were not in any danger of going down and they’ll need to work hard again this season to stay afloat.

The four Murray sisters from Comeragh Rangers are named in Pat Sullivan’s starting line-up as both sides begin their 2024 seasons.

Armagh: A Carr; G Ferguson, C McCambridge (capt.), R Mulligan; C Towe, L McConville, D Coleman; N Coleman, C O’Hanlon; E Druse, A McCoy, S Quigley; A Mackin, L Kenny, K Mallon.

Waterford: E O’Brien; C Murray, E Power, T Behan; A Murray, H Power, N Power; E Murray, K Hogan (capt.); K McGrath, A O’Neill, M Comerford; C McCarthy, K Murray, L McGregor.

Lidl NFL Division 2  

Tyrone v Westmeath; Naomh Eoghan GAA  

Tyrone and Westmeath both comfortably stayed afloat in Division 2 last year, each finishing with nine points, and will hope for a promotion push this year.

Tyrone won when the counties met last year and will be hoping for a similar result on home soil this time.

Aoibhinn McHugh will captain the Red Hands for this League opener, with goalkeeper Lauren McCormack set to lead the Lake County.

Tyrone: C Donnelly; J Lyons, J Barrett, C Daly; A Strain, Z Loughran, M Corrigan; C Campbell, A McHugh (capt.); A Grimes, A Daly, C Quinn; A Horisk, M Mallon, E Conroy

Westmeath: L McCormack (capt.); L Kiernan, L Power, L McCartan; C Kelly, F Coyle, R Dillon; K Boyce Jordan, A Jones; C Clarke McMahon, V Carr, A Ruane; T Dillon, L Slevin, K Hegarty.

Cavan v Tipperary, Lacken  

Tipperary won five of their seven League games in 2023 but it still wasn’t enough for a Final berth.

The Premier County, captained by Maria Curley, will aim for promotion this time and they have a potent looking inside line containing Anna Rose Kennedy, Emma Morrissey and Aishling Moloney.

Tipp won well when they played Cavan in the 2023 League but the Breffni County have home advantage this time and led by captain Áine Brady, they’ll be looking for a much-improved display this time against Sunday’s opponents.

Cavan: E Baugh; N Briody, Á Brady (capt.), L Crowe, H Gilsenan, R Dolan, R Gilsenan; Á Smith, C Halpin; Z Fay, S McCabe, D McCaffrey; C Charters, N McCorry, A Doughty.

Tipperary: L Fitzpatrick; K Downey, L Spillane, E Cronin, N Martin, M Curley (capt.), N Towey; L Morrissey, E McCarthy; S Morrissey, A McGuigan, C Dwyer; A.R. Kennedy, E Morrissey, A Moloney.

Kildare v Monaghan; Manguard Park  

2023 was a dream year for Kildare and now they find themselves as Division 2 outfit and also preparing for the TG4 Leinster and All-Ireland Senior championships in the summer.

Kildare landed the Lidl NFL Division 3 title last year before adding Leinster and All-Ireland Intermediate titles.

Captained again by Grace Clifford and with former Mayo ace Diane O’Hora still at the helm, the Lilywhites will be hoping for another encouraging campaign.

Monaghan finished second from bottom in Division 2 last year and, captained by Maeve Monaghan, will be hoping for better fortunes in 2024.

Kildare: N Barnes; F Troute, L Lenehan, A Clifford; M Doherty, R Sargent, L Gilbert; G Clifford (capt.), C Sullivan; A Rattigan, E Dowling, S Munnelly; N Dooley, R Byrne, L Curran.

Monaghan: Ó Kelly; A Bannigan, B McNally, S Brady; M Monaghan (capt.), J Duffy, E Clerkin; J McQuillan, Á Loughman; A Garland, L Maguire, C Treanor; C  McBride, É Sherry, S Tierney.

Laois v Donegal; LOETB Centre of Excellence 

Both Laois and Donegal have new managers at the helm ahead of the 2024 season.

Billy Kiernan will guide the fortunes of Laois, with John McNulty taking the reins in Donegal.

Laois contested the 2023 Division 2 Final, losing out to Armagh, and will be hoping for another strong run.

Captained by Clodagh Dunne, they welcome Donegal, relegated from Division 1 last year and captained by Niamh McLaughlin, to Portlaoise for a pivotal early season fixture.

Laois: E Barry; S Farrelly, C Dunne (capt.), A Cummins; S Delaney, A Moran, C Malone; A Moore, A Lalor; R Allen, E Lacey, K Donoghue; M Nerney, A Fitzpatrick, O’Hennessy.

Donegal: C Friel; S McLaughlin, A Temple Asokuh, E McGinley; S McFadden, N Gordon, T Hegarty; R Rodgers, N Boyle; E Gallagher, N McLaughlin (capt.), D Dowds; S White, K Herron, A Boyle Carr.

Lidl NFL Division 3  

Roscommon v Down; Padraig Pearses, 12pm   

Roscommon made the drop from Division 2 last year and will be targeting a promotion push in an attempt to get straight back up.

Down finished in a comfortable position in the 2023 standings and after capturing the 2023 TG4 All-Ireland Junior title, the Mourne County will be hoping for another positive campaign.

Niamh Feeney is the new Roscommon captain for 2024, with Meghan Doherty once again leading Down on the playing fields this year.

Roscommon: H Cummins; A McGrath, E Irwin, A Mac Auliffe; R Fitzmaurice, S Wynne, C Cregg; L O’Rourke, K Nolan; L Fleming, L Shanagher, S Farrell; A Hanly, A Feeley, N Feeney (capt.).

Down: A McGivern; E Sands, S Smyth, O Boyle; N McKibbin, M Doherty (capt.), O Duffy; C Mulvenna, A Brogan; N Scullion, A Cull; L Duffy, N McClory, N Ferris, E Fitzpatrick.

Wexford v Clare; Taghmon, 1pm 

Two counties with genuine promotion hopes clash in Taghmon in what could be a cracking game.

Wexford have experience and class all over the pitch, similar to Clare, who contested the Division 3 Lidl NFL and TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate Finals, losing out narrowly to Kildare on both occasions.

These are two counties to watch this year in the race for League and Championship honours.

Wexford: S McCarthy; A Power, M Byrne, K English; R Hughes, A Halligan, S Harding Kenny; R Murphy (capt.), C Banville; C Ní Nuallain, C Donnelly, A Cullen; C Roban, T Doyle, C Foxe.

Clare: A Lenihan; A Keane, G Harvey, R Doohan; R Considine, J Doohan, S Considine; C Harvey (capt.), L Ryan; T Collins, C Hickey, C McCarthy; C Moloney, F Marrinan, A Sexton.

Antrim v Louth; Davitt Park, Belfast 

Antrim landed the Lidl NFL Division 4 crown last year and also made it to the last four of the TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate series.

It was a superb season for the Saffrons but they’re down a number of key players from last season as they get set for another campaign.

Louth won four of their seven Division 3 matches in 2023 and further progress could see them launch a promotion charge.

Antrim: S Murphy; C Coleman, E Ferran, C McKenna; G Shannon, C Brown (capt.), H Donaghy; A Mulholland, L Dahunsi; T Mellon, C Taggart, A Sheehan; B Ní Cahail, A Taggart, C Maguire.

Louth: R Lambe Fagan; K Matthews, A White, C O’Reilly; H Lambe Sally, A Breen (capt.), S Matthews; A Halligan, E Byrne; M Duffy, N Rice, L Byrne; L White, K Flood, A Russell.

Offaly v Sligo; Ferbane   

Offaly and Sligo were two teams who narrowly avoided relegation last season and this is a crucial game for both sides to kickstart their 2024 campaigns.

Offaly will be looking to an impressive looking midfield pairing of Amy Gavin Mangan and captain Ellee McEvoy to pull the strings on home soil in Ferbane.

Visitors Sligo have a nice blend of youth and experience, with Claire Dunne captaining the team from centre back.

Offaly: K Cunningham; A Grehan, M Mann, K Farrelly; N Buckley, E Maher, N Farrelly; A Gavin Mangan, E McEvoy (capt.); F Dempsey, A Stafford, C Walsh; S Fitzgerald, M Byrne, R Cockram.

 Sligo: E McGuire; A Molloy, E McDermott, A Morrisroe; C King, C Dunne (capt.), T Breheny; S Cunney, S Regan; C Gilligan, L Kelly, J Lyons; C Gorman, N Brennan, L Duffy.

Lidl NFL Division 4  

Leitrim v Wicklow; Ballinamore 

Leitrim, Division 4 runners-up last year, got off to a winning start in 2024 against Kilkenny last weekend.

Now they face a Wicklow side who picked up a point from their visit to Limerick.

With both counties fancying their chances of pushing towards the semi-final placings, this game could offer real clues as to their long-term prospects.

Leitrim: M Monaghan; E McHugh, C Tyrrell, C Owens; E Moyles, C Bruen, O Flynn; N Tighe, A Quinn; V Egan, M Guckian (capt.), S Quinn; A Clancy, L Fox, A Redican.

 Wicklow: E Griffin; M Corr, L Dunne, M Healy; N Cullen, S Goetelen, S Evans; S.J. Winders (capt.), A Gorman; N Caffrey, S McGettigan, C Lancaster; C Murphy, E Parke, E O’Brien.

Carlow v Fermanagh; Lannleire GFC, Dunleer, Louth

Carlow had to work hard for their victory against Derry last weekend, with second half goals proving crucial.

Ulster opposition presents itself again in the form of Fermanagh, who had Eimear Smyth and Bláithín Bogue in sparkling form against Longford in their opening round win.

A big game for both sides and a win for either would put them in a very strong early-season position in the standings.

Carlow: N Hanley; A Carroll, A Roche, S McCullagh; R Bermingham (capt.), N Murphy, N Forde; M Townsend, R Bailey; E Hayden, B Nolan, S Doyle; R Sawyer, M O’Neill, C Ní Shé.

Fermanagh: S McQuade; F Maguire, S McQuade (capt.), E Keenan; S Gunn, C Murphy, C Bogue; S Feeley, S McCarville; B Bogue, E Smyth, E Finlay-McGovern; E Maguire, L Maguire, A McCabe.

Kilkenny v Longford; MW Hire Training Centre, Dunmore 

Kilkenny showed real grit in defeat to Leitrim last Sunday and can take positives into Sunday’s home tie with Longford.

The Midlanders will be anxious to bounce back from defeat to Fermanagh as they look to push towards the semi-final slots.

Longford will be favourites to get past the Noresiders but they’ll have earned any potential victory by the full-time whistle.

Kilkenny: K Fitzpatrick; A Ring, A Galwey, S Smith; J O’Keeffe, A O’Neill, K Hennessy; K Comerford, R Roche; E Lawlor (capt.), N Ward, C Moore; R Roche, H Brennan, K Ryan.

 Longford: S Egan; A Moorhead, L Shannon, G Kenny; O Nevin, C Mulligan, C McCormack (capt.); S Gallagher, E O’Reilly; L Maguire, G Shannon, F Talabi; C Lohan, N Brady, E Lynn.

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