The Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, Mary Hanafin, was on hand at Croke Park today to launch the 2010 TG4 Ladies Football All-Ireland Championships.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of TG4's sponsorship of the Ladies Football All-Ireland Championships and 15 Championship games will be broadcast live over the course of the summer.
The Senior Championship will see Cork attempt to win the Brendan Martin Cup for the sixth consecutive year. Cork retained their National League Division 1 crown by defeating a spirited Galway side and again they will be the team to beat this summer.
Galway, last year's beaten senior finalists Dublin and Ulster duo Monaghan and Tyrone will be among the leading challengers to Cork's dominance.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Hanafin said: "The longevity and continuing success of the partnership between Ladies football and TG4 is a testament to the commitment and vision of both parties.
"Together they have raised the profile of Ladies football both on the national and international stage. Ladies football is proving hugely popular and entertaining, with flourishing affiliated leagues in North and South America, Australia, Asia, the UK and across mainland Europe."
Pat Quill, President of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association, said: "The support of TG4 over the past ten years has been invaluable in enabling us to grow and publicise the successes of our sport.
"The Championship season is upon us once again and I have no doubt that there will be no shortage of the skill, passion, determination and excitement that has made Ladies football such a success."
The draw for the Senior Championship round 1 qualifiers was carried out at Croke Park by Quill and TG4 Director General Pól Ó'Gallchóir.
TG4 Senior All-Ireland Championship Round 1 Qualifier Draw:
Down v Kildare
Connacht 4th place team v Kerry
Tipperary v Meath
Tyrone v Connacht 3rd place team
Two of the Senior Championship round 1 qualifier matches will be broadcast live on TG4 on Monday, August 2. The other two round 1 fixtures will be played over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Donegal will be among the favourites for the Intermediate Championship after an impressive display in the NFL Division 2 final. Last year's beaten finalists Fermanagh are expected to mount another strong challenge, while Waterford and Cavan are also likely to feature prominently.
In the Junior Championship, Limerick has been on the cusp of national success for a number of seasons and this could be their year. Wexford are the dark horses in the Junior grade and they could be the team to deny Limerick All-Ireland glory once again.
The Senior, Intermediate and Junior Championship finals will take place at Croke Park on Sunday, September 26, and all three games will be televised live on TG4.
Senior Championship Teams -
Armagh, Clare, Cork, Down, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Kerry, Laois, Leitrim, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Sligo, Tipperary, Tyrone
Intermediate Championship Teams -
Antrim, Cavan, Donegal, Fermanagh, Longford, Kilkenny, Waterford, Westmeath, Roscommon
Junior Championship Teams -
Carlow, Derry, Limerick, Louth, Offaly, Wicklow, Wexford
2010 Championship Fixtures - Key Dates:
Sunday, July 11 - TG4 Intermediate round 1
Sunday, July 18 - TG4 Intermediate round 2
Sunday, July 25 - TG4 Intermediate round 3 and Junior round 1
Saturday, July 31 - TG4 Senior qualifiers round 1
Monday, August 2 - TG4 Senior qualifiers round 1
Saturday, August 7 - TG4 Senior qualifiers round 2
Sunday, August 8 - TG4 Senior qualifiers round 2, Intermediate round 4 and Junior round 2
Saturday, August 14 - TG4 Senior quarter-finals
Sunday, August 15 - TG4 Intermediate round 5 and Junior round 3
Saturday, August 21 - TG4 Senior quarter-finals
Saturday, August 28 - TG4 Senior semi-final, Intermediate semi-final and Junior semi-finals
Saturday, September 4 - TG4 Senior semi-final and Intermediate semi-final
Sunday, September 26 - TG4 Senior, Intermediate and Junior finals