The 2019 Gourmet Food Parlour HEC Ladies Football Third-Level Championships were launched today (Tuesday January 22) at GFP’s Northwood (Santry) outlet – with a record number of teams and players set to compete.
The Ladies Gaelic Football Association’s Higher Education Committee (HEC) has seen its membership break the 1900 barrier for the first time, with 38 colleges represented by 57 teams in League and Championship.
The stunning growth of Ladies Football in Third-Level Colleges has coincided with Gourmet Food Parlour’s sponsorship of the Ladies HEC Leagues and Championships.
This is Gourmet Food Parlour’s second year working alongside the LGFA, with GFP sponsoring the prestigious O’Connor Cup, as well as the O’Connor Shield.
Gourmet Food Parlour are also title sponsors of the Giles, Lynch, Moynihan, Donaghy and Lagan Cups.
Former Kerry Footballer and GFP ambassador Tomás Ó Sé was present at the launch and hosted a Facebook Live Q and A featuring Lorraine Heskin, Managing Director Gourmet Food Parlour, Niamh McEvoy (DIT & Dublin), Siobhán Divilly (NUI Galway & Galway), Eimear Scally (UL & Cork) and Muireann Atkinson (Dublin City University and Monaghan).
LGFA President Helen O’Rourke was also present, along with Ladies HEC Chairperson Donal Barry.
The 2018 Gourmet Food Parlour O’Connor Cup Final was a thrilling affair at Abbotstown, as Dublin City University edged out University of Limerick to be crowned champions for the first time since 2011.
In defence of their crown, DCU will face stiff opposition from a number of opponents, including UL and UCD, the reigning GFP League Division 1 holders.
TG4 has also confirmed that the 2019 GFP O’Connor Cup Final, which will be played on Saturday March 9, will be streamed LIVE on the Spórt TG4 YouTube Page.
Speaking at the launch today, GFP MD Lorraine Heskin said: “This is a hugely exciting time for Ladies Football and the LGFA – and we are delighted to continue our sponsorship of the HEC Championships for a second year.
“We are extremely passionate about sport for women and with the 20x20 movement gathering huge momentum, it’s incredible to see record numbers participating in the HEC Championships.
“We’re very happy to play our part in helping to ensure that these fabulous players gain increased recognition for their efforts on and off the field of play.”
LGFA CEO Helen O’Rourke commented: “We are pleased to welcome Lorraine Heskin, her colleague Lorraine Byrne and the entire Gourmet Food Parlour team on board for a second year.
“The GFP O’Connor Cup weekend is now a firmly-established and high-profile entry in our annual fixtures calendar, and we are anticipating outstanding games in all competitions, as has been the case in recent years.”
Speaking about the launch, Darragh Biddlecombe, (DIT) GAA Officer at TU (Technological University) Dublin – City Campus said: “Preparations for the Semi-Finals and Finals of the 2019 Gourmet Food Parlour HEC Ladies Football Championships are well underway in TU Dublin, with matches scheduled for our City Campus pitches at Grangegorman and Broombridge.
“The Championships are shaping up to be an exciting festival of football, which will culminate with the Lynch, Giles and O’Connor Cup Finals on Saturday, 9th March in TU Dublin (Grangegorman).”
The concluding stages of the Gourmet Food Parlour HEC Ladies Football Championships will take place on Friday March 8 and Saturday March 9.
In the GFP O’Connor Cup, holders DCU find themselves in Group B alongside 2018 runners-up UL and UCC. In Group A, Queens University Belfast are pitted with NUI Galway and UCD.
The top two teams will emerge from each group to contest the semi-finals, with the third-placed sides to battle it out for the O’Connor Shield.
The GFP O’Connor Cup action gets underway on February 6, when Queens entertain UCD and DCU host UCC.