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‘Some of the game's greatest’: Top players of 2021 to shine at TG4 Ladies Football All-Stars

A gala event is set to take place at Dublin’s Bonnington Hotel.

Armagh forward Aimee Mackin was crowned TG4 Senior Players’ Player of the Year for 2020.
Armagh forward Aimee Mackin was crowned TG4 Senior Players’ Player of the Year for 2020.

THE COUNTRY’S TOP Ladies Football talent is set to be honoured and celebrated tonight.

The 2021 TG4 All-Star team will be announced at a gala event at Dublin’s Bonnington Hotel, with the Réalta Pheil na mBan recap show airing on the Irish language station on Sunday, 21 November at 4.45pm.

History-making All-Ireland senior champions Meath lead the way with 14 nominees on the list of 45, with finalists and National League Division 1 champions Dublin seeing nine players included.

Semi-finalists Cork and Mayo earn seven and six nominees respectively, with three hailing from Donegal, two each from Armagh and Galway, and one apiece from Kerry and Waterford.

The 2021 TG4 Junior, Intermediate and Senior Players’ Player of the Year award winners will also be announced on the night.

The Senior prize is certain to head to the Royal county, with All-Ireland winning team-mates Vikki Wall, Emma Duggan and Emma Troy all in the running for the honour.

The Intermediate honour will be contested by Westmeath duo Sarah Dillion and Lucy McCartan and Clare’s Niamh O’Dea, with Clíodhna Ní Shé of Carlow, Antrim’s Gráinne McLaughlin and Wicklow All-Ireland winner Marie Kealy nominated for the Junior award.

Wall, who is joined by her Dunboyne clubmate Duggan on the Senior Player of the Year shortlist, having landed the Intermediate equivalent last year, said:

It’s great that we even get to have the All-Stars event this year and even more exciting with the amount of the Meath girls nominated. It’s an absolute honour to be nominated and we are all buzzing for it.”

vikki-wall Meath star Vikki Wall during the All-Ireland final in September. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Wall is also in the reckoning for an All-Star, named alongside Dublin’s first-time nominees Hannah Tyrrell and Orlagh Nolan, and Sarah Rowe of Mayo, on the 45-strong list.

After her stunning return to inter-county football amidst retirement from international rugby, Tyrell noted: “To be nominated for an All-Star is a huge honour for me and my family, especially when the standard of Gaelic football is at an all-time high and there are some incredibly talented players in the sport right now.”

“It’s really nice to even be mentioned alongside such incredible players,” Nolan added, reflecting on her first season with the Sky Blues. “Especially players that I’ve looked up to over the last number of years, and are great people to learn from.”

hannah-tyrrell Hannah Tyrrell of Dublin. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

And Rowe, speaking from her AFLW base at Collingwood, echoed their sentiments.

“It’s an absolute honour to be nominated for an All-Star, it’s something I’m very grateful for and humbled to be amongst some of the greatest players to play the game. This year’s championship, in particular, was very interesting. We saw so many players come through the ranks and younger players really stepping up. I’m always privileged to be amongst players like that. I’m just delighted and very grateful to be nominated.

I clearly remember being a young kid, being there for the Connacht Young Player of the Year and looking up at all the older players and thinking, ‘Oh my God, it would be so cool to one day be nominated for an All-Star!’”

The Mayo star also hailed the “really positive step” of the gala event going ahead this year after last year’s virtual ceremony amidst the Covid-19 crisis, doubling down on Wall’s thoughts.

sarah-rowe Mayo forward Sarah Rowe. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

You, at home, can keep up to date with exclusive behind the scenes action on Spórt TG4′s social media channels, with a Facebook Live preview from the red carpet and minute-by-minute coverage of the all-important awards themselves among the offerings, before a full recap on Réalta Pheil na mBan.

2021 marked the 21st season of TG4’s sponsorship of the All-Ireland ladies football championships – and the 21st year of live TV coverage of the All-Ireland finals.

Just under 600,000 people tuned into TG4’s coverage of the finals in September. The senior showdown between Meath and Dublin took a 30% share of viewing among individuals, making TG4 the most popular channel in Ireland on the historic day when Eamonn Murray’s side won the Brendan Martin Cup for the very first time.

Click here for a full list of the 2021 All-Star nominations.

Spórt TG4 will have exclusive behind the scenes action from tonight’s TG4 Peil na mBan All-Stars across its social media channels, including a Facebook Live preview and live coverage of the awards themselves on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and on YouTube.

Then you can watch the Réalta Pheil na mBan recap show — on TG4 or worldwide on TG4 Player – on Sunday, 21 November from 4.45pm.

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