The Ladies’ National Football League is back, and it’s bigger than ever! In 2022, Meath dominated ladies football, winning Division One and keeping their All-Ireland title.
There will be a lot of attention paid to the top tier, where Donegal will try to upset some of the big names.
However, there will be more matches and, ultimately, more drama across all four Divisions, so there will be action everywhere you look.
Five reasons to keep an eye on the league’s season this year.
The National League will return to eight-team divisions after two years with the split format of two groups of four in the new year.
The top two teams in each of the top three tiers will advance to the final after seven matches.
Obviously, the National League champions will be whoever wins the Division One final. Six of the last ten league champions went on to win All-Ireland titles later that year.
In addition, it brings the women’s game into line with the men’s, at least in terms of the league structure. In the long run, the more matches, the better.
And let’s be honest: is there such a thing as too much football?(Ladies’ National League)
Division One powerhouses Donegal, which stunned Dublin in the semis last year before losing to Meath in the final, is attracting interest from Ulster.
Since Donegal also beat the Dubs in the All-Ireland quarterfinals, they will be confident that they can defeat anyone. But they’ll want to beat Meath, who won the All-Ireland semis again before winning the championship.
Donegal’s position in their sixth season under Maxi Curran will be clear after they play all of the top teams. They could emerge as outsiders for success in 2023 if everything goes according to plan.
On the opening weekend, Meath takes on Dublin in a titanic battle, while Donegal travels to Galway. On January 29, the second round brings together Donegal and Meath. For that one, gloves will be removed.
Additionally, Mayo, Cork, Galway, and Kerry cannot be discounted. Everywhere you look, massive games are playing.(Ladies’ National League)
Big Ulster rivalries If you’re a fan of Ulster football, Division Two looks intriguing with Armagh, Tyrone, Monaghan, and Cavan all grouped together. Meath defeated Donegal in the Division One and All-Ireland finals to end promising a campaign for the north west county.
Armagh will be one of the favorites for promotion after a narrow defeat in the Division Two final last year, while Monaghan qualified for the semi-finals but lost by three points to eventual champion Kerry.
Inspired by the Mackin sisters, Aimee and Blaithin, who now lives in Australia, Orchard County reached the All-Ireland quarterfinals the previous year after winning their third consecutive Ulster title. However, they were eliminated by finalists Kerry. Shane McCormack will take over as manager for the new year, replacing Ronan Murphy, and there is also a new coaching roster.
On the other hand, Tyrone, which lost all of their games and ended up in the relegation play-off, will try to avoid the same fate this time around.
Cavan’s campaigns begin and end with Ulster derbies: on the first weekend, they travel to Armagh, and on the final day, they travel to neighboring Tyrone.
At the end of the game, Ulster has a good chance of moving up or down.
Down, Ulster’s only third-tier team, will be looking to continue where they left off last year, despite the fact that that season ended in disappointment.
Outside of Ulster, the three teams listed above will also be competing for promotion, while Clare, the big-name team that moved up from Division Two last year, will be in the mix.
The lowest division is the only one to keep the split format for 2023, with one group of four and another with five, to save money given London’s participation. Antrim defeated Fermanagh in the All-Ireland Junior Championship final last year after a replay, and the counties will now compete for promotion.
Antrim and Fermanagh, rivals in Ulster, are in Division Four A, along with London and Carlow. Derry, Leitrim, Limerick, Kilkenny, and Wicklow round out the group.
Division Four actually begins slightly later in the year because there are fewer group matches. Antrim, the reigning All-Ireland Junior champion, and Fermanagh, the beaten finalists, will be hoping to move up from the bottom tier.
The Saffrons might have had their day in the sun with a replay win, however it was the Erne Province who had the better association crusade last year and edged their Ulster opponents to a semi-last spot prior to losing to Limerick.
The first game between Fermanagh and Antrim is one to keep an eye on.
Derry’s senior women’s team had no wins in the league in 2022, while Derry’s men’s team had a memorable year.
Despite the fact that the return of Kilkenny is unknown and there are fewer matches to keep the element of chance, anything could happen in the bottom tier. Getting points may be more realistic than exiting Division Four B.
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