Dundalk Sport
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Dundalk Sport

LADIES GAA | 2018 League Preview

# Stabannon face plenty of threats in Division One
# Kilhill look like the team to beat in Division Two
# Clans looking to go one step further in Division Three

Siobhan Giggins of Stabannon Parnells and Aine Lynch of the Geraldines in action in last year’s Division One final between. PICTURE: WARREN MATTHEWS

The 2018 Louth Ladies League campaign begins this weekend with fixtures across all three grades. Dundalk Sport takes a closer look at each division ahead of what should be another exciting season.

Division One

2017 winners: Stabannon Parnells
2017 runners-up: Geraldines

Teams

Stabannon Parnells
Cooley Kickhams
Newtown Blues
Geraldines
St Mochtas
St Kevin’s
St Fechin’s
St Brides

The 2018 edition of the Louth Ladies League Division One looks to be more open in 2018 than in previous seasons when Stabannon Parnells would have been ranked as red hot favourites.

This season, however, there’s reason to believe that the reigning champions will be put to the test by teams like Newtown Blues, last year’s beaten finalists, the Geraldines, Cooley Kickhams and St Fechin’s.

St Brides — who were beaten by Stabannon in the Senior Championship — along with St Mochtas and the newly promoted St Kevin’s will also provide a real threat in a division that looks as competitive as it has ever been.

The opening round of fixtures has thrown up a couple of mouthwatering ties with Stabannon playing host to the Blues and the Geraldines welcoming St Mochta’s to Haggardstown.

Expect a lot of tight games throughout and the fine line between a top four position — and a place in the semi-finals — and a relegation battle could well come down to the kick of a ball.

St Kevins’ Eimear Murray gets away from Kikerley/Dowdallshill’s Emma Singleton in last year’s Division Two final. PICTURE: WARREN MATTHEWS

Division Two

2017 winners: St Kevin’s
2017 runners — up: Kilkerley/Dowdallshill

Teams

Kilkerley/Dowdallshill
Roche/Na Piarsaigh
Naomh Fionnbarra
Dreadnots
Glyde Rangers
Mattock Rangers
Naomh Mairtin/Glen Emmets
St Patrick’s
Geraldines B

Division Two is always very competitive and this season looks to be no different.

Kilkerley/Dowdallshill put the disappointment of losing last year’s league final to St Kevin’s to go on and win the Intermediate Championship and they start the campaign looking very much like the team to beat in the second tier.

The combination side, however, will have plenty of competition in the battle to make the breakthrough to the senior grade.

St Patrick’s and Roche/Na Piarsaigh both found the going difficult in the top flight in recent years but that experience should benefit them throughout the campaign.

Dreadnots and Naomh Mairtin are seasoned campaigners in this division and will be looking to find a way into the top four while a youthful Glyde Rangers are capable of beating anyone on their day.

Newly promoted Mattock Rangers will hope to off to a good start and solidify their position in Division Two but the surprise package could well be Naomh Fionnbarra who have been improving steadily in recent years.

Mattock Rangers’ Kelly Connor wins this ball ahead of Clan na Gael’s Shannen McLaughlin in last year’s Division Three final. PICTURE: WARREN MATTHEWS

Division Three

2017 winners: Mattock Rangers
2017 runners-up: Clan na Gael

Teams

Newtown Blues B
Naomh Mairtin B
St Brides B
O’Raghallaigh’s/Oliver Plunketts
Hunterstown Rovers
Clan na Gael

After losing out to Mattock Rangers in last year’s league final, Junior Championship winners Clan na Gael will begin 2018 determined to go one step further and win promotion this time around.

The Castletown club certainly have the strength to go all the way this time but they will be pushed, no doubt, by the O’Raghallaigh’s/Oliver Plunketts combination who are much fancied to do well this season.

The four remaining teams in the division are B teams and they are expected to battle it out with newly formed Hunterstown Rovers — who travel to Dundalk to meet the Clans on Friday night — for a place in the semi-final spots.

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