What changes have the GAA made to this year's competition formats?

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What Changes Have The Gaa Made To This Year's Competition Formats?
The GAA's revised master fixtures calendar brought some changes for the inter-county season. ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson
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Muireann Duffy

After last weekend's return of the Allianz National Hurling League, it's now time for the football to burst back into action.

Fifteen fixtures are down for the opening weekend in the GAA's restructured football league, with the Division 1 and 2 finals to be played on the weekend of June 19th.

How has the football league been restructured?

The old divisions remain, with last year's outcomes dictating the teams moving up or down due to relegation/promotion as always.

From there, the teams in each division have been divided into two categories based on location, north and south.

Using this method, the north and south groups for each division are:

Division 1 North: Armagh, Donegal, Monaghan, Tyrone.

Division 1 South: Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Roscommon.

Division 2 North: Down, Mayo, Meath, Westmeath.

Division 2 South: Clare, Cork, Kildare, Laois.

Division 3 North: Cavan, Derry, Fermanagh, Longford.

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Division 3 South: Limerick, Offaly, Tipperary, Wicklow.

Division 4 North: Antrim, Leitrim, Louth, Sligo.

Division 4 South: Carlow, Waterford, Wexford. (London are no longer included due to Covid restrictions.)

What games will the teams have to play?

It's a round-robin competition, so each team plays all other teams in their group. As with previous years, the league table reflects each team's points based on their results - two points for a win, one for a draw.

Will there be a league final this year?

It depends.

For the football, after all teams in their respective groups have played, the top two teams will move on to the semi-finals, which will pair a team from the northern group with a team from the southern group. The winners of these two fixtures will qualify for the division final.

However, these finals are due to be played the weekend of June 19th and thanks to a delayed season, there is not a lot of breathing room in the fixtures calendar with the provincial championships due to start the following weekend.

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Because of this, if a team involved in a league final are scheduled to play a provincial championship on the weekend of June 26th, no final will be played and joint-winners will be crowned instead.

If those two teams happen to meet in the championship, the fixture will double as the league final, and the winner will take the title.

In the hurling, teams with the most points in the Divisions 2A, 2B, 3A and 3B league tables will take their respective titles, with no quarter-finals, semi-finals, or final.

An overall Division 1 winner will only be crowned if the top teams of 1A and 1B meet in the championship, with the match also acting as the league final, similar to the football. If the two teams do not meet, they will be crowned joint-winners.

How will the promotion and relegation be decided?

Divisions 2, 3 and 4 in the football league will see the two teams who reach the division final being promoted.

For relegation from Divisions 1, 2 and 3, the two bottom teams in each group (north and south) will play in a relegation play-off, the two losers of which will drop a division next year.

In the hurling league, the bottom placed team in Divisions 2A, 2B and 3A will be relegated, while a relegation play-off between the bottom teams of Division 1A and 1B is scheduled to proceed the All-Ireland semi-final in August.

What about the championships?

The All-Ireland Football Championship will be played on a straight knock-out basis with no qualifiers.

The Hurling Championship will stick to last year's format, with the knock-out provincial championship and the back-door system.

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