The LGFA has confirmed today that the All-Ireland ladies senior football champions Dublin will play two of their 2018 Lidl National League Division 1 fixtures at Croke Park this year while also traveling to Castlebar for a doubleheader showdown with Mayo.
The Mayo ladies senior footballers will finally have the opportunity to appear on a double bill with the men in what is a landmark development for the LGFA.
The doubleheaders are not limited to this case as eight Lidl NFL ties are set to serve as curtain-raisers ahead of matches involving the men’s teams from the host counties.
Speaking to balls.ie prior to her move to Australia to pursue a professional AFL career, Cora Staunton called on the game's authorities to collaborate more around fixtures:
It's the only way people are going to see ladies football and enjoy it. They’ll see it on All Ireland final day, it was great to have the attendance there, but you want regular attendances. You don’t want just one big event per year of 47’000, you want them at league matches. Mayo men would have between 15000-20000 in Castlebar. Even if only 500 watched the ladies, eventually more and more would come out to watch it.
You do need collaboration so that league fixtures can be fixed and two organisation can sit down together and put the fixtures together. I think it was last year we played the same team, maybe Mayo played Dublin on a Saturday night and the lads played Dublin on a Sunday and both matches were at home, which is crazy to be at.
It's great to see this finally being addressed and some progressive thinking by the LGFA and GAA.
The confirmed list of ‘double-headers’ is as follows (men’s NFL fixture in bold):
1. Sunday January 28 – Lidl NFL Division 2 – Armagh v Tipperary (12.0), Athletic Grounds, Armagh (Armagh v Sligo)
2. Saturday February 3 – Lidl NFL Division 2 – Cavan v Armagh (5.15), Kingspan Breffni, Cavan (Cavan v Louth)
3. Saturday February 10 – Lidl NFL Division 1 – Dublin v Cork (5.0), Croke Park (Dublin v Donegal)
4. Sunday February 11 – Lidl NFL Division 1 – Monaghan v Kerry (12.0) – Páirc Grattan, Inniskeen (Monaghan v Kerry)
5. Sunday February 11 – Lidl NFL Division 1 – Galway v Mayo (12.0) – Pearse Stadium, Salthill (Galway v Mayo)
6. Saturday February 24 – Lidl NFL Division 1 – Mayo v Dublin (5.0), Elverys MacHale Park, Castlebar (Mayo v Dublin)
7. Saturday March 3 – Lidl NFL Division 1 – Dublin v Kerry (5.0), Croke Park (Dublin v Kerry)
8. Saturday March 3 – Lidl NFL Division 2 – Tyrone v Cavan (5.15), Healy Park, Omagh (Tyrone v Donegal)