IT’S destination Bangkok for the 2016 and 2017 TG4 Ladies Football All-Stars – as the travelling party left Dublin this afternoon (Tuesday).
This is the eighth All-Star tour for the LGFA, with players who won All-Stars in 2016 and 2017 among the group.
The tourists will arrive in Bangkok on Wednesday afternoon (local time) and will play an exhibition game next Saturday, St Patrick’s Day, March 17, at the Chulalongkorn University Stadium.
That game is pencilled in for 2.30pm local time and the day also includes a Thai GAA intra-club competition.
Among the other highlights on the tour are a Thonburi Klong River cruise, a welcome ceremony hosted by the Irish Thai Chamber of Commerce, cookery classes, and a training session at the Berkeley International School.
The travelling party will leave Bangkok next Wednesday, March 21, and arrive back to Dublin airport early on Thursday morning.
Ladies Gaelic Football Association CEO Helen O’Rourke says that a trip of this nature is a fitting reward for sporting excellence.
“We have witnessed some amazing feats on the field of play from our inter-county teams in recent years,” she commented.
“To be selected as an All-Star recipient in such a competitive environment and era is a massive achievement for any player and travelling to Bangkok on this tour is a lovely bonus.
“I would like to thank our friends in Thailand GAA and on the Asian county board for their work and preparation prior to our arrival, and we are really looking forward to the trip.
“Our players are magnificent ambassadors for their sport and I know that the local people are very much looking forward to greeting them when we touch down.
“I would also like to thank our championship sponsors TG4 for helping to make another All-Star tour a reality and a word of thanks also to our hard-working and diligent staff who have been extremely busy in recent weeks to ensure that all of the necessary preparations were taken care of.”
TG4 Ardstiúrthóir Alan Esslemont said: “TG4 is delighted to be involved in the All-Star tour and we take immense pride in it as championship sponsors.
“It’s a great privilege for us to bring such talented players to a great city and to give them an opportunity to parade their skills before an appreciative international audience.
“It is clear from the wide range of countries with clubs affiliated to the LGFA, and confirmed by our past All Star trips to this part of the world (Singapore and Hong Kong), that this is a sport that is now truly global.
“I would like to acknowledge Thailand GAA and the Asian County board as they extend a Céad Míle Fáilte to us.
“I would like to also pay tribute to the staff at Cumann Peil Gael na mBan – in particular Uachtarán Marie Hickey, CEO Helen O’Rourke and their colleagues – for their continued energy, dedication and willingness to innovate.”
Bríd Stack will be the ‘most travelled’ player among the group as this is a sixth TG4 All-Star tour for the 2016 senior Players’ Player of the year.
Dublin’s 2017 TG4 All-Ireland senior championship winning captain Sinéad Aherne is embarking on her fifth TG4 All-Star tour.
Ten of the 2016 TG4 All-Star XV are represented on the trip, along with 13 of the 2017 selection.
Dublin trio Leah Caffrey, Aherne and Noelle Healy (the 2017 senior Players’ Player of the Year) were honoured with TG4 All Stars in 2016 and again in 2017.
Kerry’s Caroline Kelly, who picked up her first award last November, will travel from Australia to link up with the touring party in Bangkok.
TG4 All-Star Team 2016
Marie Ambrose (Cork), Bríd Stack (Cork), Leah Caffrey (Dublin), Sinead Goldrick (Dublin), Aoife McAnespie (Monaghan), Sinead Finnegan (Dublin), Fiona McHale (Mayo), Sharon Courtney (Monaghan), Noelle Healy (Dublin), Ciara O’Sullivan (Cork), Maria Delahunty (Waterford), Ciara McAnespie (Monaghan), Sinéad Aherne (Dublin), Orla Finn (Cork), Noelle Gormley (Sligo), Mairead Wall (Waterford), Megan Dunford (Waterford), Karen Guthrie (Donegal), Aishling Moloney (Tipperary), Lyndsey Davey (Dublin).
TG4 All-Star Team 2017
Ciara Trant (Dublin), Emma Spillane (Cork), Sarah Tierney (Mayo), Martha Carter (Mayo), Caroline Kelly (Kerry), Ciara Hegarty (Donegal), Roisin Phelan (Cork), Aileen Gilroy (Mayo), Lorraine Scanlon (Kerry), Aimee Mackin (Armagh), Niamh Hegarty (Donegal), Nicole Owens (Dublin), Aisling Doonan (Cavan), Niamh McEvoy (Dublin), Yvonne McMonagle (Donegal), Martina O’Brien (Cork), Aislinn Desmond (Kerry), Sinéad Burke (Galway), Lauren Magee (Dublin), Sarah Rowe (Mayo), Eimear Scally (Cork).
Managers: Mick Bohan (Dublin) and Ephie Fitzgerald (Cork)