The 2023 Lidl National Football League reaches the penultimate stage this weekend
Compiled by Jackie Cahill
GALWAY will hope to book their place in the 2023 Lidl National League Division 1 Final on Sunday.
Victory against Mayo at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park (2pm) would guarantee that the Tribeswomen play already qualified Kerry at Croke Park on Saturday April 15.
That Connacht derby is one of four top-flight games over the St Patrick’s weekend, with the clash of current champions Meath and Waterford also on Sunday (Ballinlough, 2pm).
On St Patrick’s Day, there are two live TV fixtures on TG4. Donegal, who could officially be relegated this weekend, welcome Dublin to Letterkenny for a 2pm start, before Cork entertain Munster rivals Kerry at Páirc Uí Rinn (4pm).
Also on Sunday, there are full rounds of fixtures in Divisions 2 and 3.
All games bar the live TG4 matches, are available to view via the LGFA’s live-streaming portal: https://bit.ly/3k9k8CB
All games 2pm unless stated
Click on a county name below to view squad sheet
Friday 17th March
2023 Lidl National Football League Division 1
Donegal v Dublin, Letterkenny – Live on TG4
Donegal are in all sorts of bother at the bottom of the table and if results go against them, the 2022 Finalists could be relegated.
Failure to beat Dublin, and Mayo picking up at least a point at home to Galway, would seal Donegal’s fate.
Maxi Curran’s outfit are pointless after five games, with Mayo on three points.
Intriguingly, Mayo are scheduled to play Donegal in the final round of fixtures but it could be academic by then.
Dublin still harbour slim hopes of a Final place but will need to win and hope that Galway slip up away to Mayo on Sunday.
The Sky Blues are on nine points, four adrift of Galway, ahead of this weekend’s fixtures.
Donegal (v Dublin): A McColgan; S McFeely, E McGinley, E Gallagher (capt.); R Rodgers, N McLaughlin, T Hegarty; S Twohig, C Keon; N Carr, K Long, K Dowds; J McFadden, K Herron, C McGarvey.
Dublin (v Donegal): A Shiels; N Crowley, L Caffrey (capt.), J Tobin; L Magee, D Lawless, M Byrne; J Dunne, E O’Dowd; C O’Connor, O Nolan, E Gribben; K Sullivan, N Hetherton, H Tyrrell.
Cork v Kerry; Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 4pm – Live on TG4
This fixture has been switched to Páirc Uí Chaoimh and with the pressure off both sides, this could be an open and entertaining game.
Kerry are already through to the Division 1 Final on April 15 and can afford to shuffle their pack again, with seven changes in personnel.
The Kingdom’s squad depth is impressive and with a Final coming down the tracks, players handed chances to impress will be eager to take them.
Cork would need a bizarre sequence of results to go their way over the Final two rounds to make a Final, including Galway to lose their last two.
Cork, however, will be keen to see how they shape up against a Kerry side with a 100 per cent record to date.
And the Leesiders showed good form themselves last time out in a 5-11 to 0-1 rout of Donegal.
Cork (v Kerry): M O’Sullivan; M Duggan, E Meaney, R Phelan; S Kelly, M O’Callaghan (capt.), R Leahy; H Looney, S Leahy; L Coppinger, K Quirke, E Cleary; O Cahalane, E Kiely, C O’Sullivan.
Kerry (v Cork): C Butler; C O’Brien, E Lynch, A Dillane; C Lynch, E Costello, C Murphy; K Cronin, M O’Connell; N Carmody, A Galvin (capt.), A Harrington; F Tangney, R Dwyer, H O’Donoghue.
Sunday 19th March
2023 Lidl National Football League Division 1
Meath v Waterford; Ballinlough
Waterford, like Cork, would need an unlikely set of circumstances to go their way over the next two weekends to qualify for a League Final.
But it’s been an excellent campaign for the Déise nonetheless, with top-flight safety confirmed after flirting with relegation in recent times.
Waterford have two wins from five outings and there’s an excellent base built ahead of the summer’s championship campaign.
A loss to Galway last time out all but extinguished their hopes of contesting a Final but Waterford will look back on this campaign with a huge degree of positivity.
They’d like to finish strongly, too, with Sunday’s fixture against League and All-Ireland champions Meath followed by a trip to Parnell Park to face Dublin on March 26.
Meath’s campaign has been underwhelming but the Royals should be much stronger come championship time.
A win here would guarantee Division 1 football again next year.
Meath (v Waterford): M McGuirk; A Sheridan, M.K. Lynch, K Newe; N Gallogly, S Ennis, A Cleary; M O’Shaughnessy, A Minogue; M Thynne, S Melia, C Smyth; A O’Leary, S Grimes, N O’Sullivan.
Waterford (v Meath): E O’Brien; C Murray, M Dunford, A Murray; E Power, E Murray, H Power; K Hogan, A Waring; A O’Neill, A Fitzgerald, C McCarthy; Karen McGrath (capt.), B McMaugh, L McGregor.
Mayo v Galway; Hastings Insurance MacHale Park, Castlebar
A huge Connacht derby lies in store in Castlebar.
Mayo are not safe yet in Division 1 but may head into Sunday’s fixture knowing that even a point might be good enough to keep them up, depending on how Donegal fare against Dublin on Friday.
Mayo have won just once this season and are due to face Donegal to come in the final round of group ties, in what could be a straight relegation shoot-out.
Galway, meanwhile, know that a win will see them through to a Final clash with Kerry on April 15.
The Tribeswomen have put together an unbeaten campaign to date and they’d like to secure that place this weekend, while also getting one over on old rivals Mayo.
If Galway do make it through, they’ll face fellow Finalists Kerry in Round 7, before the two counties do it all over again at Croke Park next month.
Mayo (v Galway): L Brennan; É Ronayne, R Flynn, D Caldwell; C Needham, F McHale, K Sullivan (capt.); A Geraghty, S Cafferky; S Walsh, S Howley, M Cannon; L Cafferky, R Kearns, T Needham.
Galway (v Mayo): K Connolly; K Geraghty, S Ní Loingsigh, E Gavin; C Cooney, N Ward, A Molloy; A Davoren, O Divilly; L Coen, E Noone, L Noone; R Leonard, L Ward, K Slevin.
2023 Lidl National Football League Division 2
Armagh v Westmeath; Athletic Grounds
Armagh go into Sunday’s fixture knowing that a win will mathematically secure a Final place, even though it would take an extraordinary series of events for them to miss out from here.
The Orchard County lost out to Kerry in the 2022 Lidl NFL Division 2 decider – and appear keen to go one better this time.
Westmeath have collected two wins to date this season and after suffering relegation from Division 1 last year, they’ve managed to steer clear of danger this season.
Laois v Cavan; Crettyard
A potentially crucial fixture in the promotion race as Laois welcome Cavan to Crettyard.
Both counties begin on Sunday on nine points, three behind Tipperary and six off pace-setters Armagh.
It’s a must-win encounter and these teams will also have an eye on Tipperary’s game with Tyrone.
Monaghan v Roscommon; Éire Óg, Smithborough
Second from bottom Monaghan host Roscommon in a tie that could decide who goes down.
A win for Monaghan will relegate Roscommon but a victory for the visitors will keep them alive heading into the final round of fixtures.
Roscommon have lost all five games to date and are pointless at the bottom, with Monaghan on three points.
Tipperary v Tyrone; 1pm, Fethard
With a victory here, Tipp could be through to a League Final.
The Premier County have four wins from five outings to date, and welcome Tyrone to Fethard on Sunday.
The Red Hands have collected two victories to date, and look set to preserve Division 2 status.
2023 Lidl National Football League Division 3
Clare v Louth; Doonbeg
Fourth plays third in Division 3, as Clare welcome Louth to Doonbeg.
Clare are on nine points alongside Down, and three behind Louth, Wexford and Kildare, who are all on 12 points ahead of the penultimate round of group fixtures.
The race for the two coveted Final slots on offer remains very much alive.
Down v Offaly; Burren
Down are safe from any relegation worries and two victories from their remaining two fixtures could yet see them make a Final.
Offaly, in contrast, are in danger of dropping down to Division 4, after winning the fourth tier title in 2022.
A must-win tie for both counties here, and for different reasons.
Sligo v Kildare; Enniscrone Kilglass
Sligo remain in relegation trouble and face a Kildare side with genuine promotion hopes.
Sligo are on three points heading into this one, as the Lilywhites aim for their fifth win in six outings.
Sligo know that they have to play bottom team Offaly in the final round and that game could yet turn out to be a relegation shoot-out.
Wexford v Longford; Chadwicks Wexford Park
A crucial Leinster derby lies in store at Chadwicks Wexford Park.
Wexford are aiming for a Division 3 Final place, with Longford battling against the drop.
A win for Longford could see them safe, and that’s huge motivation, but Wexford have aspirations towards the top end of the table.