HISTORY was made this week when the Ladies Gaelic Football Association announced that the 2019 TG4 All-Ireland Senior semi-finals will be played at Croke Park.
The LGFA launched the 2019 All-Ireland championships at Croke Park and with it, came two major announcements.
Aside from the monumental news that the senior semi-finals will feature in GAA Headquarters for the first time in history, TG4 will also broadcast 17 fixtures from the 2019 All-Ireland Championships, including the Junior, Intermediate and Senior Finals at Croke Park on Sunday, September 15.
Croke Park is traditionally the venue for the TG4 All-Ireland Senior, Intermediate and Junior Finals on Sunday, September 15, but the news the stadium will also play host to a double-header three weeks earlier, has been massively well received by the Ladies Football community.
Dublin ladies captain Sinead Aherne says hosting the TG4 ladies SFC semi-finals at Croke Park is a massive step forward for the game, an opinion shared by many.
“That’s massive, it’s a huge step forward for the game,” said Aherne. “The thing about the ladies game when you look at the last couple of years there has only been six teams that got that opportunity to play in Croke Park on All-Ireland final day.
“For it to be a double header of semi-finals it should be great games. Last year’s semi-finals ended up on a double bill and they were two great games in Hyde Park.
“It’d be great to see a huge crowd in for that and I think there will be if the competition continues to be close.”
A total 12 counties will battle it out for the Brendan Martin Cup, the big prize on offer for the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship winners, with holders Dublin aiming for a third successive title.
Dublin will feature on a live TV double-bill on Saturday, July 13, as the 2019 All-Ireland Series gets underway.
Over the course of eight weekends, TG4 will bring viewers the very best action from the All-Ireland Championships, with the Senior and Intermediate Competitions to be played once again on a round-robin basis.
The action gets underway next weekend, July 13/14, and the TG4 cameras will be present at O’Moore Park in Portlaoise for a LIVE double-header.
Connacht champions Galway and opponents Kerry will throw-in at 1.45pm, with that game followed by the meeting of TG4 All-Ireland and Leinster Senior champions Dublin and Munster runners-up Waterford, at 3.30pm.
It has also been confirmed that the double-header on Saturday July 20 (Donegal v Tyrone and Cork v Cavan) will be played at TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar.
A week later, on Saturday July 27, Bord Na Móna O’Connor Park in Tullamore will host Mayo v Donegal and Armagh v Cork, two games which will also be shown by TG4.
Should Cork and Dublin, two of the leading contenders for Brendan Martin Cup glory on September 15, top their round-robin qualifier groups and then successfully negotiate their respective quarter-finals, they’re scheduled to meet in the All-Ireland semi-final on August 25.
Cork and Dublin have met in four of the last five Finals and these old rivals served up their latest classic in the Lidl National League Division 1 semi-final in April, when Cork dethroned 2018 League winners Dublin after extra-time at Nowlan Park.
Cork legend Bríd Stack is relishing the prospect of another titanic TG4 All-Ireland Senior Ladies Football Championship collision between her native county and holders Dublin.
Stack, an 11-time All-Ireland Senior winner during her playing days, acknowledges that there’s plenty of football to be played before the two counties lock horns again, but she admits that it would be a tie to savour.
She explained: “It’s just vital that they’re at their peak come that game – and it’s going to be a savage game if it does happen.
“You would be lining up for a new pairing as well for the All-Ireland Final, which would be great for the game.
“In the last five years, Cork and Dublin have met in four All-Ireland Finals but we saw the excitement that Mayo and their loyal supporters brought to Croke Park in 2017, and the attendance shot up.”