Ladies' Gaelic football

Ladies' Gaelic football (Irish: Peil Ghaelach na mBan) is a women's team sport. It is the women's equivalent of Gaelic football and is organised by the Ladies' Gaelic Football Association. Two teams of 15 players kick or hand-pass a round ball towards goals at each end of a grass pitch. There is also a seven-a-side version of the sport. The sport is mainly played in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland where the two main competitions are the All-Ireland Senior Ladies' Football Championship and the Ladies' National Football League. Both competitions feature teams representing the traditional GAA counties. [1][2] The 2017 All-Ireland Senior Ladies' Football Championship Final was the best attended women's sports final of 2017. [3][4] The 2019 final, after the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup Final, was the second largest attendance at any women's sporting final during 2019. [5][6][7][8] Historically Cork and Kerry have been the sports most successful counties. Waterford, Monaghan and Mayo have also enjoyed spells of success. [2][9] In more recent years, 2017 to 2019, Dublin have been the dominant team. [7][8][10][11][12]

Ladies' Gaelic football
Teams representing Germany and Belgium at the Gaelic Euro 2017 – International Football Cup
Highest governing bodyLadies' Gaelic Football Association
First played1926
Team members15 on each team
TypeTeam sport, ball sport
GlossaryGlossary of Gaelic games terms
Country or regionRepublic of Ireland
Northern Ireland

Ladies' Gaelic football is also played in Africa, Asia, Great Britain, Canada, Europe, South America, the United States, New Zealand and Australia. Outside of Ireland it is mainly, although not exclusively, played by members of the Irish diaspora. [1][2][13]


Year Key events
1926A parish league is organised in Cooraclare, County Clare.
c. 1964In a tournament in County Offaly a team representing Ballycommon defeat a team representing the Marian Hostel from Tullamore in the final.
June 1968The Dungarvan Gala Festival organise a tournament.
July 1969The Clonmel Nationalist carries a report of a match featuring teams representing Clonmel Post Office and Tipperary County Council. The following week Clonmel Post Office play a team from the Carrick-on-Suir Exchange. The success of these two fixtures led to the formation of an eight team league. Clonmel Post Office are the inaugural champions.
1970A league featuring teams from South Tipperary and West Waterford is played on a double round basis.
1971Tipperary and Waterford organise Ladies Football championships.
3 October 1971Tipperary take on Waterford in what was probably the first ever game of inter–county ladies football. Tipperary won by a couple of points.
2 September 1973In the first Cork Ladies Football championship final, Knockscovane defeat Ballydaly by 3–4 to 2–3 at Banteer.
1973During a carnival at Banteer, Kerry play Cork in an inter-county game. Kerry won by 5–10 to 4–11 with Mary Geaney scoring 2–6. The match was refereed by Dinny Long, the Cork senior men's footballer.
18 July 1974The Ladies Gaelic Football Association was founded at a meeting held at the Hayes' Hotel in Thurles, County Tipperary, almost ninety years after the Gaelic Athletic Association was founded in the same hotel.
13 October 1974In Durrow, County Laois, Tipperary defeat Offaly by 2–3 to 2–2 in the first ever All-Ireland Senior Ladies' Football Championship Final.
10 October 1976Mary Geaney captains Kerry to their first All-Ireland title. In the final they defeat Offaly by 4–6 to 1–5. With 3–2, Geany was also the top scorer in the final. She also scores the first ever hat-trick in an All-Ireland final.
1977Mullahoran win the inaugural All-Ireland Ladies Club Football Championship. [14]
1979Tipperary win the inaugural Ladies' National Football League title. [15]
1980The LGFA introduce their All Star awards. [16][17]
1982The LGFA is recognised by the Gaelic Athletic Association
3 October 1982Kerry win their second All-Ireland title. They subsequently go on to dominate the championship during the 1980s, winning nine successive titles between 1982 and 1990. Between 1980 and 1991 Kerry also win eleven Ladies' National Football League titles.
12 October 1986Kerry defeat Wexford by 1–11 to 0–8 in the first All-Ireland final played at Croke Park.
1987Mary Immaculate College defeat University College Cork in the inaugural O'Connor Cup final. [18][19][20]
1987A team representing Ballymacarbry, County Waterford win the All-Ireland Ladies Club Football Championship for the first time. Between 1987 and 1998 they win the title on ten occasions. The club also provides the nucleus of a very successful Waterford team.
11 November 1990Kerry defeat Laois by 1–9 to 0–6 to complete a nine-in-a-row of All-Ireland titles.
13 October 1991Waterford defeat Laois by 5–8 to 3–7 as they win their first All-Ireland title. As of 2019, this is the highest number of goals scored in a final. Between 1991 and 2000, Waterford reached nine All-Ireland finals, winning five titles. Between 1992 and 2002, they also won five Ladies' National Football League titles.
6 October 1996Monaghan, featuring Niamh Kindlon, defeat Laois by 2–11 to 1–9, after a replay, as they win their first All-Ireland title. Between 1994 and 1998, Monaghan played in five successive All-Ireland finals, winning two titles.
3 October 1999Mayo, featuring Cora Staunton, defeat Waterford by 0–12 to 1–8 as they win their first All-Ireland title. Between 1999 and 2003, Mayo play in five successive All-Ireland finals, winning four titles.
30 September 2001Laois defeat Mayo by 2–14 to 1–16 as they win their first All-Ireland title. Between 1985 and 1996, Laois had played in seven All Ireland finals, finishing as a runner up on each occasion. This was also the first All-Ireland final broadcast live by TG4. [21][22][23]
2 October 2005Cork defeat Galway by 1–11 to 0–8 as they win their first All-Ireland title. This marked the beginning of Cork's dominance of the sport. Between 2005 and 2009, Cork were All-Ireland champions five times in a row. They then achieved an All-Ireland six in a row between 2011 and 2016. During this era they also won eleven consecutive Ladies' National Football League titles.
2006An Ireland team selected by the LGFA plays against Australia in an International rules series. Ireland won the series, winning the first test by 134–15 and the second test by 39–18. [13][24][25]
26 September 2010Dublin win their first All-Ireland title, briefly interrupting the Cork monopoly. In the final they defeat Tyrone by 3–16 to 0–9.
December 2014The Cork senior ladies' football team win the RTÉ Sports Team of the Year Award after winning their ninth All-Ireland title. They were the first female team to win the award. They received 27% of the vote, beating the Ireland men's national rugby union team, winners of the 2014 Six Nations Championship, by 11%. [26][27][28]
December 2015Dual Cork football and camogie players, Rena Buckley and Briege Corkery, were named joint winners of The Irish Times/ Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Year Award after they both broke the record for most individual All-Ireland medals, overtaking the 15 won by the Dublin camogie player, Kathleen Mills. [29]
24 September 2017Dublin win their second All-Ireland title, defeating Mayo in the the final by 4–11 to 0–11. The attendance of 46,286 was a record for an All-Ireland final. It was also the best attended women's sports final of 2017. The second best attended final was the 2017 FA Women's Cup Final which had an attendance of 35,271. [3][4] It was also the best attended women's sporting event in Europe during 2017.[30] A BBC Northern Ireland report declared it was "the highest attended women's sporting event in the world in 2017". [31]
15 September 2019Dublin complete a three-in-a-row of All-Ireland titles, after defeating Galway in the the final by 2–3 to 0–4. The 2019 final was watched by a record breaking attendance of crowd of 56,114. After the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup Final with 57,900, it was second largest attendance at any women's sporting event during 2019. For the seventh year in a row the attendance increased, with the figures more than doubling since 2013. [5][6][7][8] It was also claimed that the record attendance was the largest ever attendance at a women's amateur sporting event in Europe. [32]


Most successful counties

County All-Ireland titles League titles Total titles
1. Cork111223
2. Kerry111122
3. Waterford5510
4. Mayo437
5. Monaghan246
6. Dublin415

Differences from men's football

Most of the rules of ladies' Gaelic football are the same as those for the men's game. The main differences are -

  • A player may pick the ball up directly from the ground, so long as she is standing
  • Most matches last 60 minutes; in men's senior inter-county football, games last 70 minutes
  • Kickouts may be taken from the hand
  • Changing hands: Throwing the ball from your right hand to left or vice versa.
  • A countdown clock with siren is used if available; in the men's game, the referee decides the end of the game
  • All deliberate bodily contact is forbidden except when "shadowing" an opponent, competing to catch the ball, or blocking the delivery of the ball
  • A smaller size 4 Gaelic ball is used compared to the size 5 ball used in the men's game.

Players who switched codes

Several ladies Gaelic footballers have also played other codes of football at a senior level. Some, including All-Ireland finalists Niamh Fahey and Sarah Rowe, have gone on to represent the Republic of Ireland women's national association football team. Lindsay Peat played for Dublin in the 2009, 2010 and 2014 All-Ireland finals before playing for Ireland in the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup. The Ireland squad featured at least six other former ladies' inter-county footballers – Niamh Briggs, Claire Molloy, Cliodhna Moloney, Katie Fitzhenry, Nora Stapleton and Hannah Tyrrell. [35][36] In more recent years the AFLW, the women's Australian rules football league, has actively recruited ladies Gaelic footballers. [37][38]

Ladies' Gaelic football to association football

Player GAA county Association football
Amber BarrettDonegalRepublic of Ireland
Marie CurtinLimerickRepublic of Ireland
Niamh Fahey [35]GalwayRepublic of Ireland
Dora GormanGalwayRepublic of Ireland
Ciara GrantDonegalRepublic of Ireland
Una HarkinDerryNorthern Ireland
Siobhán KilleenDublinRepublic of Ireland
Kirsty McGuinnessAntrimNorthern Ireland
Valerie MulcahyCorkRepublic of Ireland (Note 1)
Sarah Rowe [35]MayoRepublic of Ireland
Julie-Ann RussellGalwayRepublic of Ireland

Ladies' Gaelic football to Australian rules football

Player GAA county AFLW team AFLW debut
Yvonne BonnerDonegalGreater Western Sydney2019
Ailish ConsidineClareAdelaide2019
Laura DuryeaCavanMelbourne2017
Joanne DoonanFermanaghCarlton
Clara FitzpatrickDownSt Kilda
Kate FloodLouthFremantle
Aileen GilroyMayoNorth Melbourne
Sinéad GoldrickDublinMelbourne2020
Katy HerronDonegalWestern Bulldogs
Grace KellyMayoWest Coast
Niamh KellyMayoWest Coast
Aisling McCarthyTipperaryWestern Bulldogs2019
Niamh McEvoyDublinMelbourne2020
Orla O'DwyerTipperaryBrisbane
Sarah RoweMayoCollingwood2019
Aishling SheridanMayoCollingwood2019
Mairéad SeoigheGalwayNorth Melbourne
Cora StauntonMayoGreater Western Sydney2018
Áine TigheLeitrimFremantle


Ladies' Gaelic football to rugby union

Player GAA county Rugby union
Niamh BriggsWaterfordIreland
Katie FitzhenryWexfordIreland
Claire MolloyGalwayIreland
Cliodhna MoloneyGalwayIreland
Lindsay PeatDublinIreland
Nora StapletonDonegalIreland
Hannah TyrrellDublinIreland



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  2. "10 Incredible Facts About Ladies Football". 11 August 2016. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  3. "Ladies football final shatters attendance records". 24 September 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  4. "Attendance at Ladies All-Ireland final in Croke Park shatters previous record". 24 September 2017. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  5. "Ladies' GAA final: Leo Varadkar praises attendance". 16 September 2019. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  6. "Dublin's win over Kerry attracts RTÉ's highest audience of 2019". 16 September 2019. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  7. "Dublin grind down Galway to seal three-in-a-row". 15 September 2019. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
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  13. "Brave Aussie ladies like ewes to the slaughter in Ireland". 14 November 2006. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
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  15. "Ladies NFL Division 1". Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  16. "1980 All-Stars". Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  17. "All Stars". Retrieved 3 November 2019.
  18. "The Ladies' Gaelic Football Association – Official Guide (2009)" (PDF). Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  19. "HEC Roll of Honour". Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  20. "Roll of Honour – O'Connor Cup". Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  21. "Women's football final broke TG4 viewing records". 25 September 2017. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  22. "Highest-ever viewing figure for TG4 All-Ireland Ladies' Football Final". 25 September 2017. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  23. "'It just proves that Ladies football has become a really watchable and exciting sport'". 1 October 2017. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  24. "Ireland v Australia – Ladies International Rules Series 1st Test Photos". 31 October 2006. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  25. "Ireland v Australia – Ladies International Rules Series 2nd Test Photos". 4 November 2006. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
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  28. "10 key moments in Irish women's sport since rugby history 12 months ago". 5 August 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2019.
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  30. "Yesterday's Ladies Final Set A Major European Attendance Record". 25 September 2017. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
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  33. "Ladies Football in Kerry". Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  34. "History – The Beginning". Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  35. "These 10 top Irish female athletes have experienced the wrath of Cork". 24 September 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  36. "Former Ladies Footballers Fuel Irish Rugby's Bid for World Rugby Glory". 9 August 2017. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  37. "Mayo star Rowe to follow in Staunton's footsteps by joining AFLW side Collingwood". 31 August 2018. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  38. "All-Ireland winning Dublin duo sign for AFLW side Melbourne - making it 18 Irish for 2020". 2 October 2019. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
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