Champions Cork face Kerry in league opener as they seek 12th title since 2005

Champions Cork face Kerry in league opener as they seek 12th title since 2005
Doireann O'Sullivan lifts the league trophy last season. Picture: INPHO/Tom Beary

CHAMPIONS Cork will face old rivals Kerry in a big Munster derby in the opening round of 2018 Lidl National League Division 1 fixtures.

The Rebels fell short in their bid to retain the All-Ireland last season under Ephie Fitzgerald, losing to Mayo in the semi-final but did take the league crown where they’ve been a consistent force. Indeed they’ve landed the league in 11 of the past 13 seasons and five in a row since 2013.

It remains to be seen if any of their veterans opt out next year, with Briege Corkery and Rena Buckley, who concentrated on camogie, sorely missed at the business end of the championship.

The opening round of fixtures across all four divisions are down for decision on Sunday, January 28.

Big-city rivals Dublin and Cork are due to meet in Division 1 on February 11, while Mayo will have home advantage for a repeat of last September’s All-Ireland final against Dublin on February 25.

Cork’s Eimear Scally with Aoife McColgan and Therese McClafferty of Donegal last season. Picture: INPHO/Tom Beary
Cork’s Eimear Scally with Aoife McColgan and Therese McClafferty of Donegal last season. Picture: INPHO/Tom Beary

Cork defeated Donegal in May to claim a ninth Lidl NFL Division 1 title in ten seasons – and the two counties will meet again on March 4.

The LGFA have restructured the TG4 championship format for 2018. The provincial championships will run off as normal but seedings for the new round-robin phase of the All-Ireland series will be based around performances in the provincial campaigns.

The TG4 All-Ireland championships will commence in July, with the All-Ireland finals moving back a week to Sunday, September 16.

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