The GAA today released its updated Master Fixtures Calendar for the 2021 season.
Preparation window and games provisions:
- Return to collective Senior inter county training on April 19th
- No return dates as of yet for collective inter county minor or U20 training – current exemptions only relate to Senior level.
- Below provisions guarantee a minimum of 5 games for each Senior County Football and Hurling team (all bar 3 counties guaranteed 6 games in Hurling)
- Objective – balance
- Ensuring sufficient games at inter-county
- League v Championship
- Club window (2020 and 2021)
- Inter county completed by end of August
- Original Programme announced in December – 27 weeks; new programme is 20 weeks
Allianz Leagues – Football
- Run from May 15th/16th to potential League finals weekend on June 19th/20th.
- Divisions will be split into North and South as planned in December.
- 4 teams in each group – based on geography.
- 3 Round Robin games per team.
- Top two in each Divisional group to league semis, followed by league final*.
- Bottom two in each Divisional group to Relegation semis – losers (2) relegated.
- Bottom teams in Division 4 to Shield semi and final.
- Changes to what was originally announced:
- London will not be participating.
- *League finals will only be played (on June 19th/20th) if Counties involved are not playing in the Championship on the following weekend.
- In that circumstance, Div 1 – joint winners; Div 2, 3, 4 – joint winners and promotion.
- Div 1 and 2 Counties were asked if they were happy to return after 3 weeks on the basis that 5 league games could be guaranteed or after 4 weeks if only 3 games could be guaranteed – overwhelming majority opted for a return after 3 weeks.
- Thus Division 1 and 2 will start on 8th/9th May – Division 3 the following week.
- Div 1a and 1b: As announced in December – remain round robin groups of 6
- No quarter or semi-finals.
- NO DIVISION 1 HURLING LEAGUE FINAL scheduled – there will be either joint winners for 2021, or if the teams that win Div 1a and Div 1b meet in the Championship, this will double as a League Final.
- Hurling League Relegation play off to be played as curtain raiser to Senior Hurling Semi Final in August.
- Divisions 2 and 3 will not have league finals – top team in each Division will be crowned champions of that Division. Bottom team in 2a, 2b and 3a will be the relegated team.
- British based teams will not be involved in the AllIanz Leagues.
- London and Warwickshire will start 2022 in Divisions 2b and 3a respectively; Lancashire in 3b.
2021 Football Championships
- Provincial knock-out Championships
- No Qualifiers
- New York and London NOT involved
- No Tailteann Cup in 2021
2021 Liam Mac Carthy Cup
- Provincial knock-out Championships with back-door qualifier system (as in 2020) but with introduction of relegation (to Mc Donagh Cup).
- There will be 11 teams in Liam Mac Carthy in 2021.
- Munster – Limerick, Waterford, Tipperary, Clare, Cork.
- Leinster – Kilkenny, Galway, Wexford, Dublin, Laois, Antrim
- There will be a preliminary round in the qualifiers between the two defeated Quarter-final teams in Leinster.
- Winners progress to Qualifiers Rd 1 – Losers to Mc Donagh Cup 2022.
2020 Minor and U20 Hurling, and Minor Football and 2021 U20 Football and Hurling, Minor Football and Hurling
- Details will be finalized when there is clarity on a return to training/play date.
2021 Club Window Provisions
- Important to note that we still do not have permission to return to club training or games yet (only training in pods of 15 allowed in the North)
- However, calendar is set up in such a way that:
- Club competitions with county players can take place as County teams exit the Championships (in football, teams start exiting from the end of June; in Hurling July 10th) [RESTRICTIONS PERMITTING]
- From August 1st, all Counties bar All Ireland Semi-Finalists in Football and Hurling, and the teams in the Div 1 Hurling Relegation play off, will be free to stage club competitions with county players. [RESTRICTIONS PERMITTING]
- Additionally, the commencement of the Provincial Club Championships will be delayed until Mid-November.
- Provinces have been requested to ensure Clubs from teams in the senior inter-county All Ireland Semi-finals and Finals will not be involved in the earliest round of the relevant Provincial Championship (where possible).
- Senior Provincial Club Championship will most likely start in or around the weekend of Nov 20/21 (dates to be finalized by each Provincial Council).
- All Ireland Senior Club Finals are provisionally scheduled for the weekend of February 12th/13th 2022.