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2024 TG4 All-Ireland Finals tickets

All four captains looking forward to the big day

Captains
looking forward to the big day

The captains gathered in Dublin ahead of this
weekend’s TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Finals
in Croke Park. Two cracking contests are in store,
as Galway take on last year’s runners-up Dublin
in the Senior final at 3.10pm, and Kildare meet
Sligo in the Junior game at 1.30pm.

Annette Clarke, a driving force for Galway from
midfield all season explains the mood in the Galway
camp. “There is a lot of excitement in the county
and all the players are really looking forward
to Sunday,” said the 23-year-old trainee Garda.
“All the games from the quarter-finals on are
tight and Sunday will be no different. We have
not been to Croke Park since 2002 and while we
will enjoy the occasion – we are there to win.”

For Dublin skipper Martina Farrell, this will
be the second time in two years she will lead
her team out on the biggest day in Ladies Football.
“Obviously the aim is to go one better than last
year but we are under no illusions about how difficult
it is going to be on Sunday,” she revealed. “Galway
have been in brilliant form all year but we are
going to give it everything and hopefully it will
be enough.” Dublin have won the last three Leinster
titles, but have not managed to go on and win
the All-Ireland.

An intriguing battle is in store in the junior
decider, and a look at previous championship winners
shows that those teams who win at this level generally
compete extremely well at senior grade. Once again
it is Leinster versus Connacht in the final. Last
year’s winners, Donegal, reached the quarter-finals
of this year’s championship, only going out to
Dublin in extra time. The 2002 winners were Galway,
and they could yet cap off a remarkable few seasons
with victory on Sunday, after reaching the last
four in their first season in senior.

Kildare may have won the last five Leinster junior
titles but they have fallen short of All-Ireland
glory over the years. The Lilywhites lost two
of the last three All-Ireland junior finals so
will not be lacking in motivation on Sunday. Captain
Brianne Leahy emphasised the importance of the
game to ladies football in the county. “This is
the biggest test for our team as it is our third
final in four years,” said the 22-year-old student.
“We have had a tough year with Wexford being re-graded,
and Armagh was a close game so we are probably
better prepared for the big game than in years
gone by.” The Kildare team were also hit by tragedy
this year when legendary manager Sean “Goggy”
Delaney died only three months into his reign.
Leahy believes that even in that short time, Delaney
has helped galvanise the team and they will dedicate
their performance on Sunday to him.

For Sligo, a win would come as a surprise to most
observers but they are rapidly improving. Captain
Jackie Mulligan is currently on a soccer scholarship
in the University of West Georgia but has returned
for the week to lead her county. “We lost to Donegal
in last year’s semi-final and realised we had
a lot of work to do,” explained the student. “We
have a really hard working management and our
form has been good this year and if we can bring
that with us on Sunday we can win.” Excitement
in Sligo is rising and a big crowd is expected
to travel to Croke Park as Sligo play their first
ever All-Ireland final at any grade.

Ms Helen O’Rourke, chief executive of Cumann Peil
Gael na mBan is looking forward to what should
prove to be two entertaining and hard fought finals,
and another great day for Association. “The finals
day in Croke Park is very special for supporters
of ladies gaelic football and we are expecting
another big attendance,” she said. “Whatever happens
on Sunday, we will have a new champion at both
junior and senior level. “Galway and Dublin are
two evenly matched sides who like to play fast
open football and that should be a very exciting
game, while Kildare and Sligo will be doing everything
they can to win the junior decider.”

Once again, both games are being screened live
on TG4. Last season’s decider between Mayo and
Dublin was watched by a then record audience for
the Irish language station.

 

 


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