The GAA today published its updated Master Fixtures calendar for 2021, confirming that the year’s inter-county football action will get underway in the middle of May.
The National Football League starts on the weekend of 15th/16th May, five weeks from Sunday, and, as signalled previously, it’ll be run this year on a regionalised basis, comprising groups of just four teams. Everyone is guaranteed a minimum of four League matches – three regulation ones plus at least one play-off tie (either a semi-final or a relegation avoider) – with a possibility of a fifth for those advancing to the divisional deciders.
The three rounds of League matches will take place on successive weekends in May starting on 15th/16th, with a week’s break ahead of the semi-finals and relegation play-offs that’ll be contested on 12th/13th June. The League finals will then be played on the following weekend, 19th/20th June.
Those League deciders will, however, only be contested if participating counties aren’t due to play their first provincial Championship matches the following weekend. If they are the final would be scrubbed and joint winners declared.
This year’s football Championship will, like last year, be run off on a straight knockout basis, with no backdoor and so the provincial Championship winners will go straight through to the All-Ireland semi-final. This year it’s Connacht v Leinster at the semi-final stage.
A rapid-fire Championship it’s set to be too, with the first round of games taking place on 26th/27th June and the Connacht final down for decision on Sunday, 25th July. Both All-Ireland SFC semi-finals will be played on the weekend of 14th/15th August with the All-Ireland final to follow on the weekend of 28th/29th August.
There’s no confirmation as yet on specific fixtures, though it was reported previously that, for the League, we’re in Division Two North this year along with Down, Meath and Westmeath. The draws for this year’s provincial Championship have yet to take place either but this is expected to happen at some stage inside the next few weeks.
Once the inter-county schedule is completed, the club Championship action gets underway at the start of September. County Championships are set to be completed by late November but the provincial and All-Ireland club Championships are, for whatever reason, scheduled to drag on all the way to the middle of February next year.
A copy of the GAA’s revised Master Fixtures Calendar for 2021 is here.