Valentine’s gift for Semple ladies

LADIES attending the historic floodlit NHL tie between Tipperary and Cork in Thurles on February 14 have been promised complimentary chocolates or roses as compensation for missing out on more traditional Valentine’s Night celebrations.

Tipperary GAA chiefs are in negotiations with chocolate makers and florists ahead of the mouthwatering clash

Tipp county board chairman Barry O’Brien believes that disgruntled partners may be tempted along for an historic night if a romantic incentive if put in place. And he revealed that all female supporters clicking through the turnstiles will be presented with chocolates or roses on arrival.

O’Brien smiled: “The men and plenty of women will be there for the love of the game first and foremost but their partners will get something novel that they wouldn’t normally get at a GAA match.”

Tipperary chiefs are also running a competition in local media with free admission to the game and dinner for two afterwards at the nearby Park Hotel on offer to five couples.

The Thurles Gospel choir will perform before the game and at half-time and a major awareness drive has been launched locally by Tipperary chiefs.

O’Brien explained: “The county board has sent notices to all of the local schools and we hope, in association with the schools that juvenile clubs will have at least one team present at the game. We hope that Tipperary fans will come out in big numbers to herald the modern era by ushering in the new floodlights while also showing their support to the team.”

The occasion will be the first in a programme of celebrations in Tipperary to mark the founding of the GAA in Hayes’ Hotel 125 years ago. Earlier in the day, the GAA’s Central Council will hold its February meeting in the historic hotel.

Meanwhile, Bord Gáis Energy has signed a three-deal to act as title sponsor of the Ladies National Football League.

The retail arm of the Bord Gáis group, takes over from Suzuki who were the competition’s first sponsors when they came on board in November of 2002.

Geraldine Giles, President of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association, said: “We are delighted to welcome Bord Gáis Energy on board as title sponsor of one of the premium competitions in the ladies football calendar.

“Our partnership with Bord Gáis Energy will enable us to further develop our game at an inter-county level by providing top-class competitive fixtures for all our county sides.”

Ladies football is the largest female participation sport in Ireland. All 32 counties are represented in this year’s competition which consists of three separate divisions, each of which is separated into sections A and B.

Twelve teams will compete for the Division one title for which defending league and All-Ireland champions Cork will be clear favourites. The Rebels will face Monaghan in Division 1B in a replay of last September’s All-Ireland final.

It is wide open in Division 1A with Armagh, Mayo and Tyrone all vying for places in the knock-out stages alongside last year’s beaten National League finalists Kerry.

A quarter-final stage has been reintroduced to the league format in 2009 ensuring the top four teams from each group qualify for the knock-out stages of the competition.

The top seeded team in each group will face the lowest seeded team from the other side of the draw and TG4 will broadcast all three of the finals live.

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