LAST YEAR’S ALL-IRELAND finalists Meath and Dublin both sealed their progression in the Lidl Ladies National Football League over the weekend, though will renew their rivalries first in a mouth-watering group game in two weeks’ time.
Páirc Tailteann hosts the Division 1B clash on Saturday 5 March [throw-in 3pm], with the TG4 cameras pitching up in Navan for the highly-anticipated fixture.
The neighbouring counties emerge from a group also containing Cork and Waterford, after both recording back-to-back wins.
League holders Dublin continued their fine start to the league in Croke Park on Saturday night, recording an emphatic 2-15 to 2-3 win over old foes Cork, while All-Ireland champions Meath got the better of Waterford on the road yesterday.
The Round Three showdown moved into focus straight afterwards.
“We are just looking at it as another game, looking to improve and rectify, it doesn’t really matter who it is,” Dublin All-Star Hannah Tyrrell, who was named Player of the Match after her stunning 1-9 tally against the Rebels, said.
“I’m sure it will be a great game to play but we are just looking forward to getting out there, getting more game time under our belt and improving each game in the season.”
Laoch na hImeartha Hannah Tyrell
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Meath geared up for the All-Ireland final repeat with an impressive 1-10 to 1-2 victory in Dungarvan, their Twin Towers Vikki Wall and Emma Duggan influential as ever.
2021 Footballer of the Year Wall scored an early goal, while All-Star Duggan finished an outstanding performance with 0-6 from play.
“Emma Duggan is a very special player,” Meath manager Eamonn Murray said afterwards. “I’m delighted to see all the kids here watching her. She’s only 18. Those kids aren’t far away from 18. They only have a couple of years left to be a Emma Duggan.”
(The Dunboyne ace is 19 now.)
While several fixtures fell foul to the weather this weekend — including the Connacht derby between Galway and Mayo, which has been re-fixed for next Sunday — Donegal made it two wins from two themselves in the other Division 1A clash.
Karen Guthrie scored two goals as the Ulster heavyweights scored a 2-11 to 2-6 win over a resilient Westmeath at St Loman’s.
“Two from two is a great place to be,” Donegal manager Maxi Curran said afterwards.
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“Your destiny is in your own hands in terms of qualifying for the league semi-final and that’s really important because the championship is so far away, getting an extra competitive game would be a huge boost and a great benefit at this time of year.”
Before Dublin’s clash with Cork on Saturday night, Dublin manager Mick Bohan bemoaned the condensed league, with five games the maximum a county can play in 2022 as three group clashes are followed by knock-out semi-finals and finals.
“I think the league is the most important competition,” he told TG4. “The disappointment this year is we have only three National League games, as opposed to seven.
“For me, over the last five years, all your learnings are done in the National League. When you get into championship football, it’s very difficult to give the same opportunities to players because the stakes are higher.
“That’s obviously a little bit of a difficult one this year, because essentially, the reward in winning two games in the National League is getting another game, that’s the prize.”
– Additional reporting by Darragh Small for the LGFA.