Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Patrick Donovan TD, launched the 2016 TG4 Championships at Croke Park on Wednesday.
LGFA President, Marie Hickey has urged supporters and members of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association to attend matches throughout the TG4 Championship and help to ‘Change the Record,’ and set a new attendance record at the TG4 All Ireland Finals on September 25th.
In 2015 the TG4 Ladies All Ireland Finals attracted an attendance of 31,083 setting the highest attendance at a European female sporting event for the year.
This year the LGFA and TG4 are targeting their own record attendance at a TG4 All Ireland Final that was set at the TG4 Ladies All Ireland Finals in 2001 when Laois played Mayo in front of 33,000 supporters.
LGFA President, Marie Hickey, also emphasised the need for supporters of Ladies Gaelic Football and members of the LGFA to attend matches throughout the summer, ‘In the past we have had many people comment on our behalf about the lack of coverage that we receive in the media or about the treatment that our players get.
However, now is the time to ‘Change the Record!’ It is time to stop depending on outside influences but instead to look inwards and begin rallying our own support base of over 170,000 members.
We have enough members to fill Croke Park twice over so we would hope that breaking our own attendance record is something that we can achieve.
It is also important that we see attendances begin to increase in the earlier rounds and that we see full stands and terraces as such visual evidence of our popularity can’t be ignored.
Increased attendances have huge positive impacts throughout our sport including helping to make revenue available to our county boards allowing them to provide the resources that are necessary for our players to perform to their highest level on the pitch.
In short we are asking our membership to rally behind the sport and help us ‘Change the Record’ no longer will we be discussing a lack of coverage of our sport or comparing it to other sports or disciplines, instead we will take our destiny into our own hands and make a lasting and positive impact on the future of our game.’
Cork will also embark on their own journey that they hope will ‘Change the Record.’
Should Cork claim their 11th All Ireland title since 2005 it will make them the joint most successful county ever to play the game along with their neighbours, Kerry.
The newly crowned Munster champions will have plenty of competition as they will hope to hold off the challenge of Dublin, who they have played in the last 2 All Ireland deciders.
Mayo, who were recently crowned as the Connacht Champions and Monaghan who are the Ulster Champions will also want to stake their claim for All Ireland glory along with a very talented group of competing counties.
The TG4 Intermediate championship has the potential to be a particular highlight throughout the Summer with some very strong sides competing for the Mary Quinn memorial cup.
Kildare will surely be amongst the leading contenders as they hope to return to the decider having gotten over the disappointment of losing the 2015 final and recently winning back their Leinster title.
The TG4 Intermediate Championship will also see two teams from Britain enter the competition as the two finalists of the British Championship will contest the TG4 All Ireland Junior Championship Quarter Finals.
The TG4 All Ireland series will get underway on July 23rd when the first preliminary rounds take place and the draw for those matches took place on Wednesday at Croke Park.
In the TG4 Intermediate Championship Roscommon will meet Wicklow in the Preliminary Round with the winner going on to play Down in the Qualifying round Limerick were also drawn in the qualifying round and they will meet Offaly with the winner going on to play the runners up of this weekend’s Munster final. Louth will play Wexford and Fermanagh will meet Leitrim in the Qualifier Round.
The draw for the TG4 Senior Championship Preliminary and Qualifier Rounds have also been made and have thrown up some mouth-watering ties.
Armagh will play Waterford in the Preliminary Round with the winner going on to play Kerry in the Qualifier Round.
Westmeath will meet their neighbours Meath in the Qualifier Round and Laois will play Cavan but the tie of the round will be the meeting of Donegal and Galway who will meet in the last qualifier.
TG4 will begin their live coverage of the Ladies Football Championship on the weekend of July 30th.
Speaking at the launch on Wednesday Ardstiúthóir TG4 Pól Ó Gallchóir said “This year’s All-Ireland series is already building up to be a very exciting one as the results in the provincial championships to date show clearly.
Our extensive coverage through this 2016 Championship season begins early next month and will comprise 17 matches across the grades, going out live on TG4’s TV channel in Ireland and worldwide on our Player www.tg4.tv culminating in the biggest day of all, all three matches from Croke Park on All-Ireland Day, 25th September”.
Minister Patrick O’Donovan, who launched the 2016 TG4 Championship said ‘“I am delighted that the Ladies Football Championships will again be broadcast on TG4.
Irish women’s sport has never been stronger and in recent years the achievements of our female sports stars have contributed enormously to the overall success of Irish sport.
As one of the fastest growing female sports in Europe, Ladies Gaelic Football is contributing enormously to that success and is providing encouragement and inspiration to thousands of girls and young sportswomen throughout Ireland as they watch their role models participate at the highest levels in their sports.
I wish all of the competitors in this year’s Championship the best of luck as they represent their counties.”
TG4 Intermediate Championship Draw:
Preliminary Round- to be played weekend of July 23rd:
Roscommon v Wicklow
Limerick v Offaly
Winner of Roscommon v Wicklow will play Down
Winner of Limerick v Offaly will play losers of TG4 Munster Final
Louth v Wexford
Fermanagh v Leitrim
TG4 Senior Championship Draw:
Armagh v Waterford
Winner of Armagh v Waterford will play Kerry
Westmeath v Meath
Donegal v Galway
Laois v Cavan