Launch takes place of Lidl Ladies' National Football League

Off The Bench holds first ever podcast in front of live audience

BY Stephen Long 17:46 Wednesday 24 January 2018, 17:46 24 Jan 2018

The Lidl Head Office in Tallaght on the outskirts of Dublin was the location for the launch of the 2018 Lidl Ladies National Football League.

The launch marked Lidl's third year as sponsors of ladies football to raise awareness of the sport.

To mark the event, Off The Ball's women's sports podcast Off The Bench held a first-ever live recording with four of the sport's biggest names in front of an audience featuring players, managers, fans and students from Presentation College Kilkenny.

Podcast host Cliona Foley spoke to Dublin footballer Sineád Goldrick and Mayo's Sarah Rowe, as well as seven-time National Football League winner Orlagh Farmer and Donegal's Róisín Friel.

This year's sponsorship is built around the idea of #SeriousSupport, as the LGFA aim to build on last year's record-setting All-Ireland final attendance of 46,296. The huge crowd was highly plauded, and there are hopes that can lead to growing attendances at league games in the months ahead.

Round 1 of the Ladies National Football League gets underway on Sunday with 16 games in total, including the meeting of near neighbours Kerry and Cork in Division 1.

Elsewhere in the top tier, All-Ireland champions Dublin travel to Donegal, Mayo play host to newly promoted Westmeath, and Galway take on Monaghan.

Sinead Goldrick, Roisin Friel, Orlagh Farmer and Sarah Rowe at the launch of the Lidl Ladies National Football League. ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Sinead Goldrick, Roisin Friel, Orlagh Farmer and Sarah Rowe at the launch of the Lidl Ladies National Football League. ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

While Cork lost their stranglehold on the All-Ireland title last year, they still remain the team to beat in the spring. Since the Rebels won their first league in 2005 they've gone on to win it 10 more times, and just twice in that period have they failed to reach the final.

There’s also a high-quality field in Division 2 as Armagh and Tipperary get set to lock horns in next weekend’s opening fixture. Tipperary are the reigning TG4 All-Ireland intermediate champions and they went through the entire 2017 campaign unbeaten.

Elsewhere, Laois, Cavan, Clare, Sligo, Tyrone and Waterford will look to stamp their mark on the second tier.

In this special edition of Off The Bench, Cliona spoke to the girls about ways the sport can continue to grow, getting younger players into playing the sport, and plenty more.

You can listen to the full podcast below:

During the chat with the four footballers, we discuss these five moving photos and get their reactions:

Off the Bench was recorded to mark Lidl’s third year of association with the Ladies Gaelic Football Association and to launch the 2018 National Football League.
The next phase of the campaign will see Lidl investing further in the LGFA where it matters most – at local level and in the community.
This is where #SeriousSupport is born and nurtured – through the dedication of a local community.
Lidl also launched their new 6-pack of Carrick Glen Active Spring Water. 10 cents from each purchase will fund jerseys and equipment for U-18, or under, LGFA club teams.
Nominate your local Ladies Gaelic Football club to win in any Lidl store nationwide, or via Lidl’s Facebook Page.
Throughout the year, Lidl will run various initiatives to benefit all levels of Ladies Gaelic Football, following on from the successful ‘Serious Starts Here’ campaign in 2017.
The new, branded Carrick Glen Active Spring Water packs will hit Lidl stores next week. 
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