WITH THE OTHER Gaelic games codes back already, ladies football returns this weekend.
The 2021 Lidl Ladies National Football Leagues get up and running on Friday evening, with Cork and Tipperary kicking us off at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
New faces in: Michael Moyles, Gerry Fahy and Declan Carr.
A new managerial reign will begin there and then, with all eyes on Premier boss — and former All-Ireland hurling winning captain — Declan Carr.
The following evening brings another highly-anticipated Division 1 clash with two more new managers cutting their teeth and going head-to-head at MacHale Park. Michael Moyles’ Mayo welcome Gerry Fahy’s Galway to Castlebar in what should be a thrilling encounter between two neighbouring rivals. Both of these matches are live on TG4.
While it’s as you were in Dublin (Mick Bohan), Cork (Ephie Fitzgerald), Donegal (Maxi Curran), Westmeath (Sean Finnegan) and Waterford (Ciaran Curran), these are three big names who will be interesting to keep an eye on through the top-flight campaign.
Michael Moyles (Mayo)
Moyles is the new man at the Mayo helm, having replaced Peter Leahy in January.
A former Mayo player and 2001 All-Ireland senior club winner with Crossmolina Deel Rangers, Moyles has enjoyed a colourful coaching journey so far and was previously involved with the team in 2015. Moyles was Mayo junior men’s manager in 2013 and has held various other posts in the men’s game within the county and further afield.
With a strong backroom team in place, he will now steer the ship as the Green and Red look to bounce back from a disappointing 2020 championship exit at the hands of Armagh, and a turbulent few years off the pitch.
- Former Mayo player and club All-Ireland winner named county’s new ladies football boss
Gerry Fahey (Galway)
Another with a strong background in the men’s game, Fahy takes the Tribe reins from Tim Rabbitt. There’s some continuity there, Fahy part of Rabbitt’s 2020 backroom team.
The Glinsk native is certainly familiar to those in Galway Gaelic football circles, having garnered plenty of experience of working with county and club teams through the years.
He led the Tribe U21s to Connacht glory and the All-Ireland final in 2017, guided NUIG to Sigerson Cup success in 2003, and has fulfilled plenty of other backroom team roles in the past — including working under Val Daly with the seniors in ’97. Fahy also spent a stint in charge of the Offaly senior team, and steered them to the Division 2 National Football League crown in 2004.
With 2004 All-Ireland winning captain Annette Clarke on board as a selector, Galway will now look to build on their 2019 final and ’20 semi-final appearances.
- Experienced Galway boss – who steered U21s to All-Ireland final – takes charge of Tribe ladies
Declan Carr (Tipperary)
The Premier appointment was another high-profile one, former All-Ireland hurling winning captain Carr succeeding now-Waterford men’s boss Shane Ronayne in the role.
The Holycross man, a brother of former Dublin football manager Tommy, was part of Tipp’s 1989 All-Ireland winning squad and skippered the team to a further All-Ireland success in ’91. Carr previously managed Holycross-Ballycahill and the Tipp U21 hurlers, guiding the young guns to a Munster title in ’09.
Having won four national titles in as many years of late, Tipp will be looking to drive on now under Carr, with former Carlow hurling manager Colm Bonner in a strong backroom team.
- Former hurling All-Ireland-winning captain Carr takes charge of Tipp ladies footballers
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Former Tyrone manager Gerry Moane is at the Cavan helm.
Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO
There’s plenty more new managers to keep an eye on down the divisions with Tyrone All-Ireland intermediate winning boss Gerry Moane, for one, taking the reins in Cavan after James Daly’s departure.
Aishling Sheridan, just home from her second season with Collingwood in the Australian Football League Women’s [AFLW], gave some insight into her new manager and what he’s brought to the Breffni set-up ahead of their Division 2 campaign.
“So far, Gerry has been great — and Barry [Grimes, Moane’s right-hand man with the Red Hand], our trainer,” the Mullahoran foward said.
“They’ve really encouraged us to not be afraid to make mistakes, which I think is something really needed, especially with new management. You’re always worried if you make a mistake, they might see it and you want to get your starting place.
“So far, I’ve been back training two weeks and I’ve loved it. They bring a new style to the game we probably haven’t played, which is brilliant again, and they’ve really given every player confidence to go out, be themselves and play themselves. There’s a lot of new faces as well this year so it will be interesting to see how our team lines up for the next few weeks.”
Elsewhere, Kevin Mc Crystal fills the Tyrone vacancy for his second term, Diane O’Hora’s tenure at the Roscommon helm begins, as does that of Emma Kelly and Kyla Trainor with Antrim, and renowned Sligo coach and 2012 U21-winning Connacht manager Anthony Brennan takes charge of the Yeats county.
- ‘Everyone starts from scratch’ – managerial changes aplenty as 2021 season takes shape
OPENING WEEKEND FIXTURES
Lidl Ladies National Football League 2021
21 May 2021
Division 1B – Round 1
- Cork (H) v Tipperary, 7.30pm, Pairc Uí Chaoimh, The Marina, – Live on TG4
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22 May 2021
Division 1A – Round 1
- Mayo (H) v Galway, 7.30pm, MacHale Park, Castlebar — Live on TG4
23 May 2021
Division 1A – Round 1
- Donegal (H) v Westmeath, 1pm, Sean MacCumhaills, Ballybofey
Division 1B – Round 1
- Dublin (H) v Waterford, 2pm, Parnell Park, Donnycarney
Division 2A – Round 1
- Meath (H) v Kerry, 3pm, Pairc Tailteann, Navan
- Clare (H) v Wexford, 2pm, Cusack Park, Ennis
Division 2B – Round 1
- Monaghan (H) v Cavan, 2pm, St Tiernach’s Park, Clones
- Tyrone (H) v Armagh, 2pm, Healy Park, Omagh
Division 3A – Round 1
- Down (H) v Sligo, 3pm, Teconnaught GAC, Downpatrick
- Roscommon (H) v Fermanagh, 2pm, Dr. Hyde Park
Division 3B – Round 1
- Laois (H) v Kildare, 5.30pm, MW Hire O’Moore Park
- Longford (H) v Wicklow, 2pm, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park
Division 4A – Round 1
- Leitrim (H) v Louth, 2pm, Ballinamore Sean O’Heslin Park
- Derry (H) v Antrim, 2pm, Celtic Park Stadium, Lone Moor Road
Division 4B – Round 1
- Carlow (H) v Offaly, 2pm, IT Carlow.
– Non-televised matches will be available to watch at https://page.inplayer.