Bumper LGFA NFL Final Reaction: Post match interviews with winners from Armagh, Kildare, Clare and Carlow

Bumper LGFA NFL Final Reaction: Post match interviews with winners from Armagh, Kildare, Clare and Carlow

The LIDL LGFA NFL finals took place over the weekend, with plenty to breakdown between the four divisions.

Daire Walsh provides reaction on behalf of the LGFA.


Lidl NFL Division 1 final - Armagh 2-12 Kerry 2-9

Armagh manager Greg McGonigle hopes they can now take their historic Lidl NFL Division 1 title success into the TG4 All-Ireland Championship and make even more progress.

Aimee Mackin and Kelly Mallon combined for 1-9 as Armagh followed up their Division 2 success last season by dethroning the reigning Lidl Division 1 champions Kerry at Croke Park.

“From a defensive point of view, we’d be happy with where we are at, but again we could have been possibly a little bit more clinical up front. We maybe left a couple of chances behind us, but it’s a great place to be on the 7th of April. Looking forward with stuff to prepare for coming into the Ulster championship and then the All-Ireland series,” said McGonigle.


“We talked about teams are probably going to have purple patches or you’re going to make mistakes and we say it’s always about reaction. It’s responding, it’s not about reacting and not going into ourselves. In regards of trying to get back up and get a score as soon as we can, we reacted very well to conceding an early second half.”

Having lost out by three points to the Kingdom in a NFL Division 2 decider at the same venue two years ago, this is a sweet victory for an Armagh side that were also appearing in their maiden top tier league showpiece.

Kerry joint manager Declan Quill said they did not make the most of a fortunate goal after the restart and they squandered too many chances to retain their crown.

“A fortunate goal really, but one that put us on a good path in the second half. We weren’t really able to take advantage of it. The bit of good luck you get, you’ve to build on it. It’s not something we did,” said Quill.

“We missed way too many chances to win a game. A national final, you’ve got to be very clinical. I thought Armagh were way more clinical than we were. The chances they got, they stuck away. We’ve to look back over the tape, but the amount of chances we missed was absolutely criminal really.

“We did come up here to win today. It wasn’t maybe an aim of ours to get to the final in a way, but that’s the way we ended up. When we were here, we were coming all guns blazing to win it. It just didn’t happen for us today. We’ve Munster championship to focus on now in two weeks’ time. We’ll give the girls a few nights off and we’ll reconvene next Friday night. Hopefully the bodies will be fresh and the minds will be fresh, and they’ll be ready to give the Munster championship a good go.”

A fine point by Aoife McCoy edged Armagh in front for a second time after free-takers Mallon and Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh had exchanged early frees, but the Kingdom received a massive boost when Lorraine Scanlon fired to the net on 10 minutes after a dead-ball strike from Ní Mhuircheartaigh had dropped short. This was only a minor set-back for Armagh, however, as midfielder Niamh Coleman palmed a goal of her own after Kerry netminder Mary Ellen Bolger had knocked down Mackin’s attempt at a point.

An earlier Mallon score meant Armagh led 1-3 to 1-1 on the first-quarter mark and this cushion was extended when Mallon superbly split the uprights from an acute left-hand angle.

Yet Kerry never allowed panic to creep into their play and three points on the bounce from Ní Mhuircheartaigh had the sides level at 1-4 apiece during the break.

After Mary O’Connell pounced on a defensive mishap by Armagh three minutes into the second half, Niamh Ní Chonchuir comfortably fired home a second Kingdom goal.

While this looked like being a major blow for the Orchard County, but they were instead galvanised in the minutes that followed Ní Chonchuir’s major. After unanswered points from Mallon, Mackin (two) and Niamh Henderson moved Armagh in front once again, the increasingly-dangerous Mackin rifled an unstoppable shot to the roof of the Kerry net on 39 minutes.

Further points from the Shane O’Neills ace either side of the third-quarter mark suddenly left Armagh six ahead, but much-needed contributions from Ní Mhuircheartaigh (two) and Hannah O'Donoghue offered fresh life to the Kingdom challenge.

Their deficit remained at three points when centre half-back Ciara Murphy cancelled out a Mallon free with a well-worked score, but even though Ní Mhuircheartaigh added her seventh point for a battling Kerry, substitute Corrina Doyle also found the range to ensure Armagh sealed a breakthrough success.

Scorers - Armagh: A Mackin 1-4 (0-2f), K Mallon 0-5 (3f), N Coleman 1-0, A McCoy, N Henderson, C Doyle 0-1 each. Kerry: L Ní Mhuircheartaigh 0-7 (6f), N Ní Chonchuir, L Scanlon 1-0 each, C Murphy, H O’Donoghue 0-1 each.

ARMAGH: A Carr; G Ferguson, C McCambridge, R Mulligan; C Towe, L McConville, D Coleman; N Coleman, C O’Hanlon; E Druse, A McCoy, L Kenny; A Mackin, N Henderson, K Mallon. Subs: S Quigley for N Coleman (24), C Doyle for Druse (49), M McCambridge for Kenny (57), S Grey for McCoy (58), E Lavery for Mallon (59).

KERRY: ME Bolger; C Lynch, D Kearney, E Lynch; A O’Connell, C Murphy, K Cronin; M O’Connell, A Galvin; N Carmody, N Ní Chonchuir, L Scanlon; H O’Donoghue, E Dineen, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh. Subs: D O’Leary for NíChonchuir, C O’Brien for Kearney (both 39), A Harrington for Scanlon (44), K Brosnan for O’Donoghue (57).

Referee: Gus Chapman (Sligo).

Lidl NFL Division 2 final - Kildare 2-9 Tyrone 0-12

Kildare manager Diane O’Hora said she is thrilled that they had the ability to see off a strong Tyrone side and claim their first Lidl Division 2 in 20 years.

First half goals from Claire Sullivan and Neasa Dooley were crucial at Croke Park on Sunday afternoon as Kildare captured the title.

“Over the moon,” said O’Hora. “When we were starting out here at the start of the year, we wanted to consolidate our position in the division, stay safe. Then obviously the focus changed as we got a few wins and got some momentum. I think today in terms of Mary Hulgraine’s leadership from goals, the whole way up to Roisin Byrne up front, I thought everyone absolutely dug in really deep.

“Tyrone threw the kitchen sink at us. They did a really good job on their analysis. They did a lot of work since we played them a couple of weeks ago and they’re formidable opponents, I’ll tell you and they’re going to go very well in intermediate, no doubt.

“For us, we’re just really, really pleased with the defensive unit and the leadership at the back. Especially with Laoise Lenehan not being there in full-back. Mia (Doherty), Aoife (Clifford) and Fiona (Troute) did a great job.”

Tyrone manager Sean O’Kane said he was really proud of his team and that while they were disappointed not to claim the trophy, they have made considerable progress in this season’s Lidl NFL.

“A lot of positive things to take out of it the league. We gave away a bad goal before half-time and we were on the back-foot then,” saod O’Kane. “We were always chasing it, but I’m very proud of the girls, very proud of the management. Very proud of everybody, it was a good game. You’ve got to realise, just over two years ago we were looking at relegation down to Division 3, so it’s a good shift up.

“Kildare are a good side. They’ve good targets. They play well with a good shape, they’re obviously well-organised. We had our chances too and we didn’t take them and Kildare had a couple of goal chances too and they whizzed by the post. I think the best team probably won on the day.”

After Roisin Byrne had opened the scoring with a second-minute point, Emma Conroy responded with a brace at the opposite end to edge Tyrone in front.

However, Kildare, appearing at GAA HQ for the first time since winning last year’s TG4 All-Ireland intermediate championship title, were already showing considerable attacking intent and bagged their first goal on six minutes when Byrne fed the raiding Sullivan for a low finish to the net.

Dead-ball specialists Byrne and Maria Canavan — an extended member of that famous Tyrone family — went on to trade points at either end of the pitch, but with sunshine making way for driving rain in north Dublin, this showpiece suddenly became less free-flowing in nature.

Nevertheless, a two-point salvo by Canavan got Tyrone back on level terms in the 18th-minute and they then squeezed into the ascendancy again when Sasha Byrne found the target from close-range.

Yet Byrne added a brace of her own just as the conditions started to brighten up again and thanks to Dooley’s superb three-pointer on 27 minutes, Kildare brought a 2-4 to 0-6 cushion into the interval.

Tyrone, who drew with Kildare during the Division 2 group stages, were still in contention on the restart, however, and another clinically-executed Canavan free got them back up and running. Captain Aoibhinn McHugh also burst through from midfield for a point that shook the woodwork on its way over, before Kildare finally opened their second half account on 41 minutes with a white flag contribution from Trina Duggan.

The ever-dependable Canavan and Lilywhites substitute Lara Curran cancelled each other out with points as the third-quarter drew to a close, only for the Tyrone sharpshooter to once again chip in with a placed ball effort.

Niamh Farrelly later joined Curran in registering a point off the Kildare bench and this was followed by a majestic Ellen Dowling score from out towards the left-wing. While Canavan brought her personal tally up to 0-8 in the closing moments, a Dooley point ensured that O’Hora’s Lilies had three points to spare in the end.

Scorers - Kildare: N Dooley 1-1, R Byrne 0-4 (2f), C Sullivan 1-0, T Duggan, E Dowling, L Curran, N Farrelly 0-1 each.Tyrone: M Canavan 0-8 (7f), E Conroy 0-2, A McHugh, S Byrne 0-1 each.

KILDARE: M Hulgraine; F Troute, A Clifford, M Doherty; L Murtagh, R Sargent, L Gilbert; G Clifford, H McLoughlin; T Duggan, E Dowling, C Sullivan; N Dooley, R Byrne, A Rattigan. Subs: N Farrelly for Rattigan (25), E O’Toole for McLoughlin (40), L Curran for Murtagh (43), H Tyrrell for Dowling (53), S Munnelly for Duggan (54).

TYRONE: C Donnelly; J Lyons, J Barrett, E Quinn; C Campbell, E Mulgrew, M Corrigan; A McHugh, M Mallon; EJ Gervin, E Conroy, A Horisk; M Canavan, Z Loughran, S Byrne. Subs: A Daly for Horisk (19-22), E McCanny for Byrne (45), C Daly for Barrett (48), A Grimes for Conroy (50), A Daly for Horisk (53), KR Muldoon for Corrigan (60).

Referee: Shane Curley (Galway).

Lidl NFL Division 3 final - Clare 1-6 Roscommon 1-4

Versatile Clare footballer Laurie Ryan said she was just delighted to get over the line and claim the Lidl NFL Division 3 title because she knew Roscommon would push them all the way.

Roscommon came with a late surge and Ryan, who has enjoyed success with Clare and Athlone Town, said they were relieved to hold on at Grant Heating St Brendan’s Park in Birr on Saturday.

“I think we knew with the conditions it was never going to be over until it was over and you could see at the end there when they got the goal. We were probably glad that we had the wind at our back to go long with the kick-out,” she said.

“They’re a really good Roscommon side and they’re well set-up. They’re hard to break down, but just so happy to get over the line in the end.

“I’ve just been really lucky in the last two to three years that I’ve been part of very successful teams You have to enjoy it while you can because you’ve lost enough finals over the years. I’m just really happy to be part of the squads and in fairness, I’m really lucky with the both of them that they’re able to work with me. It allows me to play both, which is the main thing as well.”

The impressive Ailish Considine grabbed 1-2 as Clare held off the late surge as Roscommon, unbeaten on their way to the final — including a group stage draw away to Clare —fell short in their quest for a second Division 3 final success in just three years.

Clare laid the foundation for their success when they turned around level at 1-1 to 0-4 at the break, having played against the wind.

Clare opened up a four points but had to endure a nervous finish after Aisling Hanly got a late goal for Roscommon, but it wasn’t enough.

“We’re disappointed,” said Roscommon manager Ollie Lennon. “Maybe if that goal had come maybe three or four minutes earlier, we might have been able to put a little bit more pressure on in the end. Unfortunately, it came late and Clare ran out deserving winners.”

“The conditions were tough, but it’s the same for both teams and the reality is that Clare were better than us, and that’s the reason that they’re lifting the cup. We’re disappointed, but we don’t have much time to dwell on it or to be too disappointed with it. I think when we look back in a couple of weeks’ time, we’ll have been very happy with the league overall.”

Scorers - Clare: A Considine 1-2 (0-1f), C McCarthy 0-2 (1f), A Reidy 0-2. Roscommon: A Hanly 1-0, L Fleming 0-4 (4f).

CLARE: A Lenihan; A Keane, S Ni Chonaill, G Harvey; L Ryan, J Doohan, R Considine; S Considine, A Reidy; L Griffin, C Harvey, A Sexton; T Collins, F Marrinan, A Considine. Subs: C McCarthy for Griffin (39), O Devitt for Sexton (46), L Griffey for Collins (49), K Mullen for R Considine (56).

ROSCOMMON: H Cummins; A McGrath, E Irwin, J McDermott; R Fitzmaurice, S Wynne, C Cregg; L O’Rourke, K Nolan; L Fleming, L Shanagher, A Hanly; A MacAuliffe, A Shanagher, A Feeley. Subs: S Farrell for Feeley (13), N Feeney for MacAuliffe (40), E Thompson for McDermott (42), A O’Connor for Shanagher (51), A Gavin for Nolan (57).

Referee: Barry Redmond (Wexford).

Lidl NFL Division 4 final - Carlow 1-7 Limerick 0-6

Carlow’s Sara Doyle paid tribute to all the players who had gone before them and paved the way for their first ever Lidl National Football League Division 4 title.

“It’s unbelievable. For me, this is maybe my fifth or sixth year playing, but at the final whistle all I could think of was Edel Hayden. She has been playing since 2001, that’s as old as I am! This is the first thing she’s properly won,” said Doyle.

“That actually makes me emotional to think about it and all the players who played before us, who never won anything with Carlow, but just kept going, kept going.”

“I think the last three championships we’ve lost All-Ireland semi-finals, one of them even went to extra-time. It was always next year, next year and this year finally.

“I think once you win one, that’s the momentum we need. I think the league, it’s great momentum for championship and this is one out of three trophies we want to win this year. There’s Leinster next and then there’s All-Ireland. That’s our goal.”

Substitute Maeve O’Neill struck a 55th minute goal at Grant Heating St Brendan’s Park in Birr on Saturday to send Carlow on their way to victory.

Carlow were only 0-3 to 0-1 adrift at the break having played against the strong wind and they levelled within three minutes of the restart thanks to a couple of frees from Cliodhna Ni She.

Then Roisin Bailey and Rachel Sawyer knocked over quickfire points from play to give Carlow a 0-5 to 0-3 platform after 40 minutes.

Limerick equalised through Deborah Murphy and Iris Kennelly before Ni She edged Carlow back in front and then came the decisive score when O’Neill found the net and there was no way back for Limerick.

“Overall, we’ll be disappointed,” said Limerick joint manager Sean Kiely. “The girls will be exceptionally disappointed. I know we’ve promotion got out of it, but they will feel that they could have done a bit better today. That’s just the way it is. You just have to take those things, it’s only the National League at the end of the day. We still have the promotion and there’s a long season ahead.”

“There’s a very strong breeze here today and it was always going to be a game of two halves. Overall, Carlow seemed to use the breeze a little bit better than we did. We went in two points up, but it probably wasn’t enough of a cushion against a quality side like that. We had a good few misses in the first half, which didn’t help our cause. To be fair to Carlow overall, they were the better team on the day. I thought they played the conditions very well, so fair play to them.”

Scorers - Carlow: C Ni She 0-4 (4f), M O’Neill 1-0, R Bermingham, R Bailey, R Sawyer 0-1 each. Limerick: D Murphy 0-2 (1f), I Kennelly 0-2, M MacNamara, C McGrath (f) 0-1 each.

CARLOW: N Hanley; A Carroll, A Roche, S McCullagh; R Bermingham, N Murphy, N Forde; E Hayden, R Bailey; B Nolan, R Sawyer, S Doyle; E Molloy, E Coogan, C Ni She. Subs: S Hayden for McCullagh (h-t), M O’Neill for Coogan (47), T Lyons for Nolan (52), M Townsend for E Hayden (55), E Ware for S Hayden (59).

LIMERICK: C Bateman; J McGuire, Y Lee, F Bradshaw; G Lee, C Mee, M MacNamara; R Ambrose, L Ryan; K O’Leary, D Murphy, K Heelan; E Woulfe, A O’Sullivan, I Kennelly. Subs: G Mullane for Heelan, R Browne for McGuire (both h-t), C McGrath for O’Sullivan (47), K Kennedy for Ryan (55), M Kavanagh for Woulfe (59).

Referee: Declan Carolan (Armagh).

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