So Lidl was behind this week's "Ladyball" frenzy ... but what was it all about?

The mystery is over

The origin of a hoax ad campaign for a women's-friendly sports ball called 'the Ladyball' has been revealed.

It has been confirmed that the Ladies Gaelic Football Association is behind the campaign, which was endorsed by ex-Dublin footballer Ger Brennan, alongside supermarket giant Lidl.

The supermarket chain has joined as a sponsor of Ladies' Gaelic and says the campaign was designed to show how female sports only need public support in order to compete with male ones.

It has released an online video this evening - including an appearance from the CEO of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association, Helen O'Rourke:

Lidl put out a statement this evening revealing the origins of the campaign.

"Lidl and the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) will next week announce details of a partnership which will see the brand become the Official Retail Partner to the LGFA and the title sponsors of the Lidl Ladies National Football League, as well as grassroots activity," they said.

"Lidl have also confirmed that they were behind the “Ladyball” product which divided the world of social media over the past few days creating a much needed debate. The fabricated product and associated 360 degree marketing campaign was designed by Lidl, with the support of the LGFA, to put the spotlight on women in sport in Ireland and raise awareness of the difficulties female sports persons have in getting the same recognition as their male counterparts.

"All Ireland winning Dublin footballer Ger Brennan, who is a strong advocate of women in sport, and Ladies Gaelic Football in particular, agreed to participate as a “Ladyball” spokesperson when he realised what Lidl wished to achieve."

LGFA president Marie Hickey also spoke about “Ladyball” and the Lidl sponsorship agreement, saying: "I am delighted to announce the partnership between Lidl and the Ladies Gaelic Football Association. This is a very significant announcement for our sport and one that will see a huge investment in the game from a major brand. Through the “Ladyball” initiative Lidl has demonstrated their innovative and dedicated approach to supporting our sport. We hope to see everyone who spoke so passionately in women’s defence in this debate, channel that same energy into pitchside support during the coming season."

Lidl Ireland Managing Director John Paul Scally added: "We are delighted that our first ever sports sponsorship is with an organisation that shows so much ambition and promise for the future. The nature of our business means we are rooted in communities all over Ireland and this partnership will allow us to further engage with communities, clubs, schools and county teams and offer support through various initiatives and programmes over the coming three years. We look forward to revealing further details of this landmark partnership for Irish women’s sport on Thursday."

So all's well that ends well!