Ladies previews: finalists to be decided

March 22, 2024

Nicola Ward of Galway in action against Niamh Ní Chonchúir of Kerry ©Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Compiled by Jackie Cahill

Armagh are set to discover their Lidl National League Division 1 Final opponents, while the 2024 Division 4 semi-finals are down for decision on another big weekend of action.

The Orchard County are safely through to a top flight decider and they’ll warm up for that with a live TG4 fixture against Dublin on Saturday (2.45pm).

A win for Dublin on their travels would leave holders Kerry having to beat Galway on Sunday to pip the Sky Blues to a Final slot.

All three of Sunday’s Division 1 fixtures are available to purchase at

The Finalists in Divisions 2 and 3 have been confirmed but there are relegation matters to sort out in both pools, as Leitrim, Limerick, Fermanagh and Carlow aim for Division 4 Final places.

Leitrim play Limerick and Fermanagh take on Carlow in Sunday’s fourth-tier semi-finals.

2pm unless stated

Saturday March 23

Lidl NFL Division 1

Armagh v Dublin; BOX-IT Athletic Grounds, 2.45pm – Live on TG4 -

Armagh are safely through to the Final on Sunday April 7 at Croke Park and now aiming to make it seven wins from seven outings in the group stages.

The Orchard County are flying high under the tutelage of Gregory McGonigle, who was Dublin Senior team manager prior to Mick Bohan taking over the Sky Blues in 2016.

McGonigle would love to get one over on Dublin and scupper their chances of making the Final but this could yet turn out to be a dress rehearsal ahead of the top flight decider.

A Dublin victory would move them onto 15 points and two clear of Kerry, piling the pressure on the Kingdom ahead of their clash with Galway on Sunday in Killarney.

With a Final berth secured, McGonigle has rung the changes for this one, making no fewer than nine following victory over Mayo.

Maeve Ferguson, Laura Kavanagh, Ciara Garvey, Eimear O’Brien, Sarah Quigley, Emily Druse, Megan O’Callaghan, Maeve Lennon and Niamh Reel are all handed the chance to stake a claim for a Croke Park starting spot.

Roisin Mulligan, Cait Towe, Dearbhla Coleman, Niamh Coleman, Caroline O’Hanlon, Eve Lavey, Aoife McCoy, Aimee Mackin and Niamh Henderson are held in reserve for this one.

Dublin, meanwhile, have made four changes in personnel following their success against Cork last time out.

All Star goalkeeper Abby Shiels returns in place of Rachael Fleming, while there are also starts for Niamh Crowley, Niamh Donlon and Kate Sullivan, with Hannah McGinnis, Kate Murray and Kerri Owens dropping out.

Armagh: B Mathers; G Ferguson, C McCambridge (capt.), M Ferguson; L Kavanagh, L McConville, C Garvey; E O’Brien, S Quigley; E Druse, M O’Callaghan, C Doyle; M Lennon, K Mallon, N Reel.

Dublin: A Shiels; M Byrne, L Caffrey, J Tobin; N Crowley, O Carey, N Donlon; G Kós, J Dunne; O Nolan, C Rowe (capt.), C O’Connor; N Hetherton, H Tyrrell, K Sullivan.


Sunday March 24

Lidl NFL Division 1

Mayo v Waterford; Ballina Stephenites – Live stream at

A positive result for Mayo on Sunday would guarantee top flight status again for 2024.

It’s incredibly tight at the bottom of the table, with Mayo relatively comfortable on seven points, four clear of Galway, Waterford and Cork, who are all on three points.

But a scenario could yet occur where Galway and Waterford both win on Sunday, moving them both to six points, and that would leave it all to play for as Galway have yet to play Waterford in the division’s outstanding game.

A draw between Galway and Waterford would then see Mayo, Galway and Waterford all locked together on seven points, with scoring difference coming into play at that juncture.

That particular permutation will be deemed irrelevant at the close of play on Sunday, however, should Mayo draw or win.

Mayo have made one change in personnel following the narrow one-point loss to table-toppers Armagh, with Fiona McHale coming in for Saoirse Lally, as Aoife Geraghty takes over as team captain for this outing.

Waterford have named an unchanged starting line-up after losing out by three points to Dublin.

Mayo: L Brennan; F McHale, N O’Malley, D Caldwell; K Sullivan, E Murray, J Mortimer; A Geraghty (capt.), H Reape; F McLaughlin, A Fitzpatrick, M Cannon; S Cafferky, L Cafferky, S Walsh.

Waterford: E O’Brien; H Power, E Power, A Murray; K McGrath, A McNulty, A O’Neill; E Murray, K Hogan (capt.); C Walsh, C Carroll, M O’Brien; B McMaugh, K Murray, L McGregor.

Meath v Cork; Páirc Tailteann - Live stream at

Cork are now in must-win territory as they prepare to visit Páirc Tailteann.

With just one victory from six outings, and five defeats, the Leesiders are in serious relegation trouble, and with the worst scoring difference in the top flight.

A victory in Navan would boost their chances of staying up but they’ll also hope that Galway and Waterford drop points to keep their survival hopes alive.

Meath can’t make the Final now but will be hoping to finish their group campaign with a flourish.

After winning their opening three games, the Royals have lost their last three to slip out of the race for silverware.

They’ve made one change in personnel for this final League outing of the season, with Ella Moyles coming into the half-forward line in place of Lisa Young.

As Cork chase the win, they’ve opted for two changes from the team that lost to Dublin, as Sadhbh O’Leary and Lydia McDonagh are handed starts in the inside line, with Emma Hurley and Abigail Ring dropping out.

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 Smyth; M Byrne, M Farrelly, E Duggan.

Cork: C Richmond; M Duggan, S Leahy, E Twomey; A O’Mahony, A Healy, K O’Driscoll; M O’Callaghan (capt.), A McDonagh; E Jack, L Coppinger, E Cleary; S O’Leary, H Looney, L McDonagh.

Kerry v Galway; Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney, 3.45pm - Live stream at

Before this game gets underway on Sunday, Kerry will know what they have to do, based on Dublin’s result against Armagh on Saturday.

A win for Dublin and Kerry know they must achieve maximum points from their home fixture against the visiting Tribeswomen in Killarney to make the April 7 decider against Armagh at Croke Park.

This fixture is a repeat of the Division 1 Final from 2023 and Galway make the trip in desperate need of points themselves.

The Westerners are one of three teams locked together at the bottom of the table on three points – but they have two games left as they battle to preserve top flight status, including this trip to the Kingdom.

The hosts have made four changes in personnel from their big victory over Meath as they aim to clinch a final slot.

Mary Ellen Bolger comes in for Ciara Butler in goal, with Ciara O’Brien, Danielle O’Leary and Katie Brosnan also handed starts. Bríd O’Connor, Amy Harrington and Hannah O’Donoghue are named among the substitutes after starting in the Meath win.

After finally getting off the mark in Round 5 with an encouraging victory over Meath, Galway have named an unchanged team and they need another win desperately here.

Kerry: M.E. Bolger; C O’Brien, E Lynch, C Murphy; A O’Connell, K Cronin, C McCarthy; M O’Connell, A Galvin; N Carmody (capt.), D O’Leary, L Scanlon; K Brosnan, E Dineen, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh.

Galway: D Gower; M Jordan, S Ní Loingsigh, E Gavin; K Geraghty, N Ward, A Ni Cheallaigh; M Glynn, A Davoren (capt.); O Divilly, S Hynes, M Walsh; L Coen, A O’Rourke, R Leonard. 

Lidl NFL Division 2

Tipperary v Donegal; Fethard Town Park, Grass Pitch, 1pm

Just pride to play for here as Tipperary and Donegal both wrap up their Division 2 campaigns.

Neither county can make the Final, with Kildare and Tyrone already through, and they’ll use this fixture to provide valuable game time to players ahead of the provincial championships.

Both counties come into this one on the back of victories last time out.

Donegal won big against Cavan, as Tipp got the better of Monaghan.

Tipperary: C Dwan; C O’Dwyer, L Spillane, E Cronin; S English, M Curley (capt.), K Downey; L Morrissey, A.R. Kennedy; H Spillane, A Moloney, A Downey; N Towey, A McGuigan, M Creedon.

Donegal: C Friel; S McLaughlin, A Temple Asokuh, E McGinley; C Keon, P Boyle, T Hegarty; R Rodgers, N Boyle; J McFadden, N McLaughlin (capt.), K Long; S White, K Herron, A Boyle Carr.

Cavan v Tyrone; Max McGrath Memorial Park Redhills

Cavan will be hoping that Tyrone, who are already qualified for an April 7 Division 2 Final, are in experimental mode ahead of this one.

Cavan are smarting from a heavy defeat to Donegal in their last fixture but still have their destiny in their own hands as they look to avoid relegation.

They may well need a win, however, as a draw here, coupled with a Monaghan victory over already relegated Laois, would leave Monaghan and Cavan locked together on seven points.

In that scenario, Monaghan would stay up as they won the head to head clash between the sides in Round 5.

Should Cavan lose here, they’ll be keeping a close eye on Monaghan’s home fixture against Laois.

Cavan: E Baugh; Áine Brady (Ballyhaise), Áine Brady (Cornafean – capt.), C Brady; C Charters, R Dolan, L Crowe; A Cahill, C Halpin; Z Fay, S McCabe, D McCaffrey; S Levingstone, R McLoughlin, E Longair.

Tyrone: C Donnelly; C Daly, J Barrett, E Quinn; J Lyons, E Mulgrew, M Corrigan; A McHugh (capt.), M Mallon; E.J. Gervin, M Canavan, C Campbell; S Byrne, Z Loughran, A Horisk.

Kildare v Westmeath; Manguard Park

A Leinster derby with not a lot at stake.

Kildare are safely through to a Division 2 Final but they would like to finish the season with a victory and secure top spot.

For Westmeath, Division 2 football again next year has been secured and thoughts will now turn towards the summer’s Championship campaign, where they will start as one of the leading contenders for Intermediate success.

Kildare, meanwhile, have a Lidl NFL Division 2 Final against Tyrone at Croke Park on April 7 in their sights before thoughts switch to the Leinster Senior Championship.

Kildare: N Barnes; F Troute, M Doherty, A Mernagh; L Gilbert, E O’Toole, E Keogh; G Clifford (capt.), C Sullivan; A Rattigan, E Dowling, T Duggan; N Dooley, L Curran, H McLoughlin.

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

Monaghan v Laois; Smithborough

Laois are already down and Monaghan need a win here to ensure they don’t join them.

And even that may not be enough for the Farney Ladies, should Cavan get the better of Tyrone.

Monaghan’s fate is out of their hands and all they can do here is take care of business against a Laois side who will be hoping to finish a disappointing League season in positive fashion, and then hope that Tyrone can do them a favour.

Monaghan: Ó Kelly; E Clerkin, N Cogan, K Nolan; A Garland, Á Loughman, M Monaghan (capt.); J Duffy, C Nally; C McBride, É Sherry, E Carolan; L Garland, L Maguire, S Tierney.

Laois: E Barry; S Farrelly, M Cotter, C Malone; S Delaney, C Dunne (capt.), G Lalor; A Moore, A Moran; A Walsh, O Hennessy, K Donoghue; M Nerney, G Moran, L Kearney.

Lidl NFL Division 3

Down v Clare; Teconnaught

Clare make the trip to Down with a Division 3 Final place already secured.

Down, meanwhile, have enjoyed a good season that sees them sitting in third place ahead of throw-in, but they can’t make the Final.

Clare will hope for a positive result to remain unbeaten in the group phase.

Down: A McGivern; A Greene, O Boyle, C Byrne; N McKibbin, M Doherty (capt.), O Duffy; C Mulvenna, A Laverty; N Scullion, N King, L Duffy; N McClory, N Ferris, V McCormack.

Clare: A Lenihan; R Doohan, S Ní Chonaill, A Keane; R Considine, J Doohan, L Ryan; C Harvey (capt.), S Considine; T Collins, A Reidy, A Sexton; K Mullen, A Considine, F Marrinan.

Sligo v Louth; Cloonacool

A massive game at the bottom of the table.

A win for Louth and they’re safe (relegating Antrim and Sligo in the process) but a Sligo victory would put the cat among the pigeons.

Adding intrigue to the situation is the fact that a Sligo win might not even be enough, should Antrim beat Roscommon.

If that’s the case, Antrim would move on to six points, relegating both Sligo and Louth, should Sligo achieve maximum points here.

Sligo begin the day on a single point, two adrift of Antrim, and with Louth sitting on four points.

Another potential scenario is a Sligo win, coupled with an Antrim draw, which would see three teams locked together on four points – and two from three will be relegated then on scoring difference.

Sligo begin the day on -33, Antrim are on -41 and Louth have a -24 scoring difference.

Sligo: E McGuire; J Creegan, C Dunne (capt.), E McDermott; C King, A Morrisroe, T Breheny; E Lavin, S Regan; C Gilligan, R O’Brien, M McCormack; R Smith, N Brennan, L Duffy.

Louth: R Lambe Fagan; A Whyte, C Boyle; E Murray; C Nolan, A Breen (capt.), H Lambe Sally; A Halligan, N Rice; C Keenan, M Duffy, L White; K Flood, E Byrne, C Woods.

Offaly v Wexford; Edenderry GAA

Offaly and Wexford are both safe in Division 3 for another season.

Consolidation would have been the aim for both counties first and foremost but Wexford would have felt capable of pushing for promotion.

Ahead of the TG4 Leinster and All-Ireland Championship campaigns, these provincial rivals will look to put their best foot forward here and finish the League season on a positive note.

Offaly: L Dunne; A Grehan, M Mann, K Farrelly; N Buckley, E Maher, N Farrelly; A Gavin Mangan, E McEvoy (capt.); F Quinn, E Hand, C Walsh; S Doyle, M Byrne, R Ennis.

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

Antrim v Roscommon; Lámh Dhearg, Hannahstown, Belfast

Antrim are in must-win territory as they look to avoid an immediate return to Division 4.

The Saffrons are on home soil in Belfast and must make that count against Roscommon, who may have one eye on a Division 3 Final on April 6, having achieved their primary goal of earning promotion, alongside Clare.

An Antrim win would move them on to six points in the standings but they’re relying then on Louth to either draw with, or lose to Sligo.

Antrim: S Murphy; G McGoarty, E Ferran, N McArdle; C McKenna, C Brown (capt.), H Donaghy; A Mulholland, L Dahunsi; K Taggart, T Mellon, C Logan; B Ni Cahail, E Rogers Duffy, A Taggart.

Roscommon: H Cummins; A McGrath, E Irwin (capt.), A MacAuliffe; E Hagan, A McGrath, M McKeon; L O’Rourke, S Fleming; S Walsh, A O’Connor, S Farrell; A Gavin, A Shanagher, N Fleming.

Lidl NFL Division 4 – semi-finals

Fermanagh v Carlow; Dowdallshill GAA club, Louth

Fermanagh will hope to get back to a first Lidl National League Division 4 Final since winning the competition in 2019 – and clinch promotion in the process.

While reaching a Final is a huge incentive for both sides, another big motivator is the fact that the winners of both semi-finals will be automatically promoted to Division 3 for the 2025 season.

For Carlow, Sunday presents the opportunity to break new ground as they aim to reach a first Division 4 Final in the county’s history.

When the counties met in the group stages of this year’s competition, Fermanagh ran out nine-point winners on their visit to the SETU Carlow Campus but Carlow will be confident of closing the gap and booking their place in the Final.

Fermanagh’s only previous Division 4 Final appearance was that victory against Antrim five years ago and they’ll be keen to get back there again.

Fermanagh: R Gleeson; C Clarke, M McGloin, E Keenan; S McQuade (capt.), C Murphy, S McCarville; B Bannon, J Doonan; D Maguire, L Maguire, B Bogue; C Bogue, N McManus, E Smyth.

Carlow: N Hanley; A Carroll, A Roche, S McCullagh; R Bermingham (capt.), N Murphy, N Forde; E Hayden, R Bailey; E Coogan, B Nolan, S Doyle; R Saywer, E Molloy, C Ní Shé.

Leitrim v Limerick; Pádraig Pearses GAA, Roscommon, 1pm

After losing to Antrim in last year’s Division 4 Final, and missing out on the chance of promotion, Leitrim will be aiming to go one better this year.

When the counties met in the group stages of this year’s competition, Leitrim ran out seven-point winners on their trip to Ballinamore but the Shannonsiders will be confident of closing the gap and booking their place in the Final.

Limerick contested a Division 4 Final in 2022, losing out to Antrim, and will be keen to get back to another decider after losing out at the semi-final stage to Antrim last year.

Limerick’s last Division 4 title win was achieved in 2016, while Leitrim, who were also finalists in 2021, last won the competition in 2010.

Leitrim: M Monaghan; O Flynn, C Tyrrell, C Owens; S Reynolds, K Bruen, E Bruen; N Tighe, M McGovern; V Egan, L O’Dowd, M Guckian (capt.); A Clancy, L Fox, A Redican.

Limerick: S Hennessy; J McGuire, Y Lee, F Bradshaw; G Lee, C Mee, M MacNamara; R Ambrose (capt.), L Ryan; K O’Leary, D Murphy, K Heelan; E Woulfe, A O’Sullivan, I Kennelly.

Note: Venues subject to change depending on weather conditions.

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