ANOTHER great incentive for women’s soccer players in Ireland as the news came that TG4 are set to show four SSE Airtricity Women's National League games.
The news was welcomed by all players and clubs across the country and this is a huge incentive for players to up their performances for what promises to be an entertaining last few months of the season.
The TG4 cameras will soon be at SSE Airtricity Women's National League stadiums after agreeing a deal with the Football Association of Ireland to broadcast live games.
In what will be a first for the League - which was established in 2011 - a national broadcaster will show four League games free-to-air over the coming weeks and they will also be available globally via the TG4 Player App.
The timing of this announcement coincides with a thrilling title race between Peamount United, Shelbourne and Wexford Youths, a battle to finish inside the top five involving DLR Waves, Galway WFC and Bohemians, and plenty to play for amongst Cork City, Treaty United and Athlone Town.
While it is fantastic news to all involved, it’s about time considering the league has been running for 10 years and has produced some excellent games every season but unfortunately not seen by many.
Now this can change and people will be given the opportunity to witness some excellent football from our women.
The promotion of the women’s game has gotten a lot better in recent years and rightly so considering the exceptional athletes that the country is producing. This new announcement from TG4 will bring the game to another level.
Due to Covid, LOITV showed all the women’s games and this was great, especially when supporters weren’t allowed into the ground but now to see the games played on TG4 it will be an added incentive for players to do well which will make the remainder of the season very exciting and competitive.
While we see our local leagues suffer from players leaving to play in the National League, it’s quite easy to see the attraction and this new announcement from the TG4, will only make matters worse for the likes of the Cork Women’s and Schoolgirls Soccer League.
Girls are leaving their clubs from as young as 15 years of age and although it’s tough for some clubs to sustain a strong underage system, as well as bringing players through to their senior setup, it’s only going to get worse.
Yet, we as coaches are there in the first place to progress and develop a player to play at the highest level and I am delighted that women are now given so many opportunities.
The series is produced by Fogarty Fenwick Services.
Coverage will commence with Shelbourne versus DLR Waves on Saturday, October 2 at 5pm at Tolka Park.
TG4’s Head of Sport Rónán Ó Coisdealbha said: "TG4 is delighted to have football back on the station and we look forward to an action-packed season from the SSE Airtricity Women’s National League.
"We are very proud to continue to lead the way in broadcasting of women’s sport in Ireland and to bring the best of sporting action to our audiences.
"This announcement reaffirms our dedication to the broadcasting of women’s sport in Ireland. In 2021 TG4 has brought the Women’s Australian Football League and the Vodafone Women’s Interprovincial Rugby Championship to Irish TV audiences for the first time, while also increasing their coverage of the LGFA Lidl Leagues by 150%."
League of Ireland Director Mark Scanlon welcomed the announcement by saying: "It is fantastic to be able to raise the profile of the SSE Airtricity Women's National League even higher by teaming up with TG4 to give the players even more visibility through the broadcasting of live games.
"We have enjoyed unprecedented success with LOITV this season, where every game has been available to stream live for free.
"But having a national broadcaster come on board to promote the League is a huge milestone.
"It's important that we continue to improve in all areas of promoting the game.
"We are excited to work with TG4 and will hopefully attract even more newcomers to the League as a result of this partnership."
Details of the remaining games that will be shown live on TG4 will be announced soon.