Time to crown the champions! 2023 Lidl National Football League Final previews

THE 2023 Lidl Ladies National Football League champions will be crowned over the coming weekend.

The Divisions 1 and 2 Finals will form part of a Croke Park double-header on Saturday, with the Divisions 3 and 4 Finals scheduled for Parnell Park on Sunday.

At Croke Park, Armagh and Laois will get the action underway in the Division 2 decider from 3pm, with promotion to the top flight for the 2024 campaign on offer for the winners.

The Division 1 Final at 5pm will pit Galway against Kerry, with Galway hoping for a very first title, while Kerry are chasing a first Division 1 crown since 1991.

On Sunday, the Division 4 Final is first up at Parnell Park between Antrim and Leitrim at 2pm, followed by the Division 3 decider involving Clare and Kildare at 4pm.

The Division 4 winners will play Division 3 football next year, with the Division 3 winners promoted to Division 2.

Saturday’s games at Croke Park will be available to view via TG4 at https://www.tg4.ie/en/player/watch-live/ while you can watch Sunday’s fixtures via the Spórt TG4 YouTube YouTube Page. The Division 4 Final will be live-streamed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vb0ghoCJ5ec followed by the Division 3 Final via the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1GeOau1XyI

Latest ticket information for all four games is available at bit.ly/40Axckm


2023 Lidl National Football League Finals


Division 1 – Galway v Kerry; Croke Park, Saturday April 15, 5pm – Live on TG4


The sides met on March 26 in the final round of group fixtures but now it’s time for the really serious business, with silverware at stake.

Kerry gained a psychological edge on that occasion with a 3-11 to 0-17 victory and the Kingdom, who finished on top of the Division 1 standings, have made two changes in personnel following that win.

Mary Ellen Bolger comes in to replace Ciara Butler in goal, with Hannah O’Donoghue named in place of Fiadhna Tangney in the full-forward line.

Galway have opted for five changes to their starting team, with Alanah Griffin in goal earning a start in place of Karen Connolly, while Kate Geraghty, Eimile Gavin, Aoife Molloy and Roisin Leonard are in for Chellene Trill, Aoife Ní Cheallaigh, Hannah Noone and Aoife O’Rourke further out the field.

Kerry, who were the 2022 Division 2 champions, are gearing up for a first Division 1 Final since 2008, when they lost out to Cork.

Kerry are 11-time Division 1 champions but have not won this title since 1991, while Galway are chasing a first-ever top-flight crown, having lost six previous Finals, the most recent in 2019.

Kerry’s TG4 All Star Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh, who has been sensational for the Kingdom again this year, scored 2-3 when the counties met recently.

That was Galway’s first defeat of the campaign but they’ll have had their eyes firmly fixed on Croke Park prior to that dress rehearsal.

A win for Kerry would see them emulate the exploits of Meath, who followed up a Division 2 title in 2021 with a Division 1 crown last year.

Ní Mhuircheartaigh for Kerry is out in front in the scoring stakes with 4-29 to her name, with impressive captain Síofra O’Shea contributing 6-11 along the way.

For Galway, Róisín Leonard is their leading attacker, with 0-21 registered to date in 2023.

Curiously, Galway were only the fourth-highest scorers during the group stages, behind Cork, Kerry and Dublin, but their defensive record was the best in the Division.


Galway: A Griffin; K Geraghty, S Ní Loingsigh (capt.), E Gavin; C Cooney, N Ward, A Molloy; A Davoren, S Divilly; L Coen, L Ward, O Divilly; E Noone, R Leonard, K Slevin.


Kerry: M.E. Bolger; E Lynch, K Cronin, C Murphy; A O’Connell, E Costello, C Lynch; L Scanlon, M O’Connell; N Carmody, N Ní Chonchúir, A Galvin; H O’Donoghue, S O’Shea (capt.), L Ní Mhuircheartaigh.



Division 2 – Armagh v Laois; Croke Park, Saturday April 15, 3pm – Live on TG4


Promotion and top-flight football in 2024 is the name of the game for Armagh and Laois in Saturday’s Lidl National League Division 2 Final.

Armagh will start as favourites after winning all seven of their group fixtures and they also enjoyed a big win over Laois in last year’s Division 2 semi-final.

A 1-9 to 7-19 defeat for Laois was a bitter pill to swallow at the time for the O’Moore County but they rallied impressively after that.

Rather than dwelling on that result, Laois got back down to business and embarked on a TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate Championship campaign that saw them crowned champions.

That success has ensured Senior Championship Football for Laois in 2023 and they’re just an hour away from potentially playing in Division 1 next year.

This Final against Armagh will provide Laois with a real indication of where they stand and when the teams met at the Athletic Grounds in the group stages, just five points separated them, as Armagh ran out 0-10 to 0-5 winners.

Armagh had secured their place in the Final before the final round of group fixtures but they still managed to do Laois a big favour, beating Tipperary to ensure that victory for Laois over Roscommon also sent them through.

Armagh were the leading scorers in the group stages and Aimee Mackin has been in scintillating form once again this year, contributing 6-22 en route to the Final.

For Laois, Mo Nerney is scorer in chief and the 2022 TG4 Intermediate Players’ Player of the Year has carried that form into 2023, bagging 5-15 for the Leinster outfit to date.

Armagh have won Division 2 titles on two previous occasions – 2015 and 2005 – while Laois are also aiming for a third Division 2 title on Saturday, following previous successes in 2006 (when they lasted contested a second-tier decider) and 2001.



Armagh: A Carr; S Grey, C McCambridge, L Kenny; G Ferguson, L McConville, C Towe; N Coleman, E Lavery; B Mackin, A Mackin, E Druse; N Marley, K Mallon (capt.), A McCoy.


Laois: E Barry; S Farrelly, C Dunne, A Kelly; S Havill, E Healy (capt.), L Nerney; A Healy, A Moran; E Galvin, O Hennessy, E Fitzpatrick; M Nerney, S.A. Fitzgerald, L.M. Maher.



Division 3 – Clare v Kildare; Parnell Park, Sunday April 16, 4pm – Live on Spórt TG4 YouTube 


There’s huge motivation within both camps ahead of Sunday’s Lidl National League Division 3 Final.

Clare were stung by relegation from Division 2 last year, having suffered a play-off defeat to Tyrone, but the Banner County have the chance to return to the second tier at the first attempt.

Kildare, meanwhile, were going great guns before running into Roscommon in the 2022 Division 3 semi-final, and the Lilywhites fell at the penultimate hurdle.

On paper at least, there will be little to separate these two sides.

Kildare topped Division 3 after seven rounds, with six wins and a draw, while Clare’s high-scoring exploits against Longford in the final round of group fixtures saw them through in second place on scoring difference, ahead of Wexford and Down, who also finished on 15 points.

When Clare and Kildare met in early February, Kildare had the upper hand but only just, as they won out by 0-9 to 0-7.

Clare have won the Division 3 title on two previous occasions – 2011 and 2006 – while Kildare have yet to crack the code in the third tier.

Kildare contested Division 3 Finals in 2021 and 1999 – losing out on both occasions to Louth and Cork respectively.

With a haul of 4-31 to date in the 2023 Lidl National League, Róisín is Kildare’s leading scorer, while Neasa Dooley has been excellent, too, chipping in with 6-17.

Clare, meanwhile, will look to the likes of Fidelma Marrinan and Chloe Moloney for attacking inspiration.

Marrinan has racked up 4-14 to date, with Moloney contributing 1-17 for the girls in saffron and blue.


Clare: A Lenihan; O Devitt, S Ní Chonaill, G Harvey; L Griffin, C Harvey (capt.), Á Keane; A Reidy, C Moloney; E Keane, F Marrinan, A Sexton; L Roche, C Blake, C McCarthy.


Kildare: M Hulgraine; L Burke, L Lenehan, A Clifford; L Gilbert, R Sargent, S Munnelly; G Clifford (capt.), A Rattigan; C Sullivan, R Byrne, T Duggan; C Price, N Dooley, L Curran.


Division 4 – Antrim v Leitrim; Parnell Park, Sunday April 16, 2pm – Live on Spórt TG4 YouTube 


2022 in Division 4 of the Lidl National League was a case of what might have been for both of Sunday’s finalists.

Leitrim contested a semi-final against eventual winners Offaly but lost out in an epic encounter after extra-time.

Antrim finished third in their group behind Fermanagh and Leitrim, failing to make the semi-finals, but the Saffrons would show much better form as the season progressed, which ended with a memorable TG4 All-Ireland Junior Championship success.

Sunday’s Final at Parnell Park offers the chance of League redemption for both sides.

As the Final approaches, we have two well-drilled teams ready to prove that they’re the best in Division 4 this year.

In their respective semi-finals, Leitrim got the better of Fermanagh by two points after extra-time, as Antrim impressed yet again in victory over Limerick.

Antrim have won all five of their Division 4 fixtures to date in 2023 while Leitrim are also unbeaten, having won three and drawn one of their group matches prior to the semi-final.

In Orlaith Prenter and Gráinne McLaughlin, Antrim possess Division 4’s two leading scorers, while captain Michelle Guckian has been most prominent for Leitrim in the scoring stakes to date.

Between them, Prenter (5-27) and McLaughlin (7-10) have been superb while for Leitrim, Guckian (1-24), Leah Fox (4-14) Vivienne Egan (4-13), Ailbhe Clancy (2-15) and Laura O’Dowd (3-8) have been hugely influential.

Victory would hand Antrim a very first Division 4 title, following Final losses in 2019, 2016 and 2014, as Leitrim, runners-up in 2021, aim for a second Division 4 crown, following victory back in 2010.


Antrim: A McCann; D Coleman, E Ferran, N McIntosh; O Corr, C Brown, S O’Neill; A Mulholland, Á Tubridy; T Mellon, C Carey (capt.) L Dahunsi; B Devlin, O Prenter, G McLaughlin.


Leitrim: M Monaghan; J Maye, C Tyrrell, M Murphy; R Rooney, C Bruen, C Le Guen; M McGovern, A Quinn; L O’Dowd, M Guckian (capt.), A Clancy; V Egan, L Fox, E Bruen.



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