Inter-county fixtures published

The GAA have this morning published details of their plans for this year’s inter-county fixtures, following the expected return to play at county level in October. You’ll find full details published by the GAA here.

On the football side of things there are no major surprises in the fixture list, as the GAA’s proposals were well trailed in advance. There is, though, one piece of detail which we weren’t aware of and which is highly relevant. I’ll get to that in a bit.

The publication of the fixture details confirms that the final two rounds of the National League will be contested from mid-October and, following this, the Championship will then be run off using the old style straight knockout format, using the draws that were already made for the four provincial competitions.

All matches – up to and including the All-Ireland final – will be decided on the day. Extra-time and, Heaven forbid, a penalty shootout will be used where necessary to decide tied matches.

So, what does this mean for us? In short, if we’re to go on a run, it’ll mean a lot of games. If we make it to the Connacht final, we’ll be in action five weekends in a row. After such a long lay-off, the chances of picking up injuries – for all teams, not just us – has to be high.

Our opening match will be the long delayed National League Round 6 game against Galway on the weekend of 17th/18th October, with the Round 7 fixture against Tyrone on the following weekend. There are no League finals planned for this year, instead the top team in each division wins. That’s kinda like how a League competition should operate.

Then it’s straight into the one-slip-and-you’re-gone Championship.

Last October we were drawn against Leitrim in this year’s Connacht SFC quarter-final and that tie will be played, over a year after the draw was made, on either Saturday 31st October or Sunday 1st November.

Roscommon’s quarter-final with London is understandably still up in the air and the Exiles may or may not be able to take part in this year’s Championship, given the complexities with foreign travel and all that. New York are definitely out for 2020 – that fact is included in the published plans.

In any event, I think that – assuming we get past Leitrim – it’s the Rossies we’ll be facing in the semis. That game is fixed for the weekend of 7th/8th November, with the Connacht final the weekend after.

The two All-Ireland semi-finals are planned to take place on the weekend of 5th/6th December. But here’s the rub – it’s Leinster/Ulster on the Saturday and Connacht/Munster on the Sunday. So whoever claims the Nestor Cup this back-end will most likely have to beat both Kerry and Dublin if they’re to lift Sam just prior to Christmas. The final, by the way, is scheduled for Saturday, 19th December.

There’s other stuff of note in that GAA announcement, including the abandonment of provincial and All-Ireland club championships both this year and next. The announcement is worth a much closer look than I’ve been able to give it at the minute.

66 thoughts on “Inter-county fixtures published

  1. Why is it Connacht Munster semi? Is due to be Connacht v Ulster. Dublin should be due to meet Kerry in the semi. In 2018 it was Dublin v Ulster, in 2019 Dublin v Connacht. Have they fixed it?

  2. I wonder will there be neutral venues for all games, also should both semi finals be played at neutral venues, or will it be the same as usual ?, given that all Covid 19 precautions will be in place.

  3. I thought the same Stephenite. By my reckoning we were scheduled to square up to Ulster this year.

  4. The semi final pairings have been as follows since 2011: (Connacht V…..)

    2011 V Munster. (Mayo V Kerry)
    2012 V Leinster. (Mayo V Dublin).
    2013 V Ulster. (Mayo V Tyrone, Tyrone knocked out Monaghan who were Ulster champions in QF).
    2014 V Munster. (Mayo V Kerry, wiped from memory, don’t recall that game).
    2015 V Leinster. (Mayo V Dublin).
    2016 V Ulster. (Mayo V Tipperary, Mayo beat Ulster Champions Tyrone in QF while Tipperary knocked Galway out in the QF).
    2017 V Munster. (Mayo V Kerry). (Mayo knocked out Roscommon who were Connacht Champions).
    2018 V Leinster. (Dublin V Galway).
    2019 gets messy, it should have been Ulster, but I can’t figure it out because of the S8’s.
    2020 V Munster, if the above is accurate).

  5. I must say I love the novelty factor of having the All Ireland final 6 days before Christmas. There’ll be a great buzz. It’s something very different and should be special for the two finalists.

  6. Hi Willie Joe
    The bank holiday is actually the weekend before that – weekend of 24/25th
    Either way I think the whole thing is madness and stinks of greed from the GAA
    Imagining winning or more than likely as we are from mayo losing an AI on penalties !!!!!
    One red warning and the whole thing is up in a heap again .
    I personally think that no championship is better than this and especially if it’s behind closed doors . That is completely soulless and goes against everything the GAA should stand for

  7. Thanks, Km79 – I’ve corrected the post now. The clocks will be going back the Bank Holiday weekend too so the reference to that is also incorrect and I’ve removed it from the piece.

  8. Yeah the elephant in the room is the potential return to lockdown (some version of it) in autumn/winter, and if so it’s goodbye football. According to reports I read, August/September will be key months. There’ll have been a few months of relative normality by then, ie tourism, economy reopened etc etc so it might be easier to predict at that point how things will go. It’s worth planning for football now though because our numbers are excellent and there’s no guarantee of second wave. So not much to lose and everything to gain. It could go either way, but I think come to the time we’ll all be ecstatic to see championship football in 2020. I truly hope it’s not behind closed doors.

  9. Not sure how I feel about this. On one hand there will be football played this year, on the other its played in the depths of winter. The GAA seem hell bend on shoe horning in a championship at any cost. I wonder have players or the GPA been consulted about this. While counties like Dublin, Cork, Galway can organise training pretty much as usual Mayo and other rural counties will have a high proportion of players travelling across the country in the middle of the night, all college players and people working away from their county will have to travel in winter conditions, its a massive ask on amateur players . The more I think of it the more I agree with Km79, it is utter madness playing championship at that time of year.

  10. Wayoutwest, the 2018 pairing was Connacht v Munster (Kerry Galway) as provincial winners. Connacht winners have been drawn to face Munster winners now in 2017, 2018 and 2020. Connacht were due to meet Ulster this year. Somethings not right

  11. @Stephenite, yes, seems a bit odd, suppose there’s nothing more holy than a Dublin V Kerry final at Christmas in the GAA’s eyes.

  12. As far as I am aware there was a draw made for this years championship semi finals, read that somewhere, the whole thing is favouring dublin and kerry who have ‘nobody’ to beat to get to semi final.

  13. 2018 wasnt connaught v munster. If super 8 hadnt come in it would have being C v L and M v U.
    What they did was put connaught group a (Galway) and leinster group b (Dublin) , munster group a (Kerry) ulster group b (Tyrone), as in seperate each pairing into opposite groups.

    In 2019 it should have being C v U and L v M
    last year group A was Connaught Group A (Rossies) and Ulster Group B (Donegal), Leinster Group A (Dublin) and Munster Group B (Kerry).

    The pairing of Muster Connaught is 100% correct going by the cycle.

  14. I have a simple question, will the games be played at neutral venues ?, as they will be knockout.
    Time for County Boards to work together and get the Dubs out of Croker for their “home games”, now more that ever.
    People will be reluctant to travel from the likes of Mayo, Kerry, West Cork and Donegal to face the big Dublin crowd in their backyard.
    Did all County Boards not release all powers to a small number of an “Emergency Powers Gaa panel” at the start of the lockdown.
    For the record, I’m stating it here for the first time, I will not be attending ANY game in 2020 if the Dubs are in Croker for some of their Leinster Games, and the All Ireland semi.

    Sure how many times have we heard this before, it takes 30,000 attendance at Croker for the Gaa to break even.

  15. Would be interested to know player’s perspective on the possibilty of playing through Winter months ..As difficult as it was for teams with Dublin based players in normal championship can you imagine how they will fare now??
    The novelty factor is appealing for sure but honestly it will be tough going..Something to shorten Winter for sure!!

  16. Are Cian Hanley and Sharoize Akram apart of the Mayo panel at present. There performances for Ballagh in last years Senior Championship deserved inclusion.Hopefully with the upcoming club championships some players will push hard for a place in the Mayo panel for October.

  17. Can’t believe the players agreed to this. You might get away with playing games in October if it’s hard frosty weather but in November and December pitches will be cut up and waterlogged. It certainly won’t be conducive to our running game that’s for sure. If I was James Horan I’d be putting all my energy into beating Galway and Tyrone and staying up and keeping the players injury free and anything else is a bonus. I honestly don’t think games will go ahead though, Without trying to be negative but unfortunately Covid 19 cases will rise again in winter along with the flu season and we will probably have one or two red weather alerts too going by the last few years where we seemed to have a storm every weekend.

  18. What a load of proverbial horse manure, championship football in December??? When does the league start in 2021, light, visibility, underfoot conditions will be a huge factor and don’t forget the thermal lung johns, this shows no consideration for player welfare. But players may find it hard to opt out.

  19. We will need our lung johns aswel as our long johns on ,come that time of year Sarahmac.

  20. could work well for Mayo, two tough games in League first , then a reasonable easy one against Leitrem and then flat out knockout for rest of games.. Weather these last few years has been fairly good till after Christmas , so all we need is proper team selections and the right changes made during the game ,and Sam will be in Mayo for Xmas.

  21. Haven’t been here for a while but lads wouldn’t it be just great to see this going ahead. I really await with bated breath and trepidation in the hope that we keep this virus at bay. Flu season will tell a lot but I’d crawl over hot coals to see Mayo play championship football before year is out. Imagine deciding a huge game against Galway on penalties in driving wind and rain and hailstones on a Saturday evening under headlights with an atmosphere like no other before heading to a local alehouse to digest it all and dream again about lifting Sam by the lugs before Santa comes

  22. This is not about football, player welfare, communities, clubs or any of that stuff. Its about money plain and simple. Watching armatures horsing around in water logged pitches chasing down the sliotar or size 5 in the depths of Orange or Red weather advisories is not what the GAA should be about. Any idea that we might have taken a wrong turn or two in the last few years should now come into focus over the coming weeks. This is not an AI Championship a few days out from Christmas. This is greed, plain and simple.

  23. Have to agree with some of the posters who view this with a cynical eye. Find it astonishing that it normally takes the guts of 4 months to run off the championship when the weather is good and the days are long but now its going to be rushed through in 6 or 7 weeks in the depth of winter. Bearing in mind Mayo don’t really get into their stride until high summer because of geography, so many living away etc this does not look good for us. Might as well have given the championship a miss this year or alternatively play a one off final between the greatest team ever and the greatest county ever . The draw looks like its heading for that anyway Am a bit concerned about a sizeable proportion of dubs followers as they have not witnessed winter football before.

  24. All i can see is a tough schedule of matches for amateur players, short days, wet pitches, worry of Covid. Could the GAA not have left it til 2021. Is this rush to hold the championship all for money, pressure of TV rights???

  25. I don’t know PJ…part of what you say is right but believe me life has been so difficult for so many for the last few months. And to have the opportunity to return to something that is a huge part of our culture and so deeply ingrained in our psyche is to be welcomed. So many have suffered mentally since this virus has been with us and if the GAA don’t take the piss with extortionate ticket prices then I can’t see what’s the harm. I know what you are saying and the whole setup is so unorthodox and it’s far from traditional but we all need a break and to roar and shout and feel human on so many levels once again has to be welcomed?

  26. Well said, Pullhard. It’s about getting back to normal, feeling alive again. I don’t see this in a cynical light. Playing behind closed doors would be the biggest downer. I bet the bulk of players can’t wait to play, I know that’s how I’d feel.

  27. Mayo to win the 2020 All Ireland Football final 69 years from their last one by playing 5 games of 70+ minutes each in front of 40,000 (socially distanced) crowd in Croke Park on the 19/12/20.

    Reason for all the numbers…. because it makes as much sense as this years championship ?

    If all falls into place however, I don’t care, be just the time we win it.

    Hammer the hammer time.

    We tend to thrive on frantic games, this bodes well with the final 2 games in the NFL and then 5 to Sam.


  28. Great news. Bring it on! By God, I’m going to be busy in October, and, I hope, in November and December.

  29. @Pullhard. Should it go ahead.
    We had that scenario play out in McHale Park on Saturday the 8th of February(made famous because of the election, on which we have finally got a result)in atrocious weather conditions where two equally matched teams played a draw. Extra time a draw and finally decided on penalties all because the heirarchy wanted to shoehorn the the U20 Championship into the calender somewhere or anywhere with no due regards to player welfare or safety. A game that should have been replayed midweek in the Old Barn in Tuam that is getting a long overdue makeover.It was so sad to see Young men that had trained so hard to wear there County colours to be treated like that on the day and reputedly there was no hot water in the showers for the players either.Deplorable stuff.I dont want to see this happen again in the depths of winter. I agree with Pj McManus. This is Greed plain and Simple.

  30. The top brass of the GAA never cared about the grassroots be it club or supporter..let’s get that clear.having county teams training in a deadly pandemic in poor weather all for the possibility of one game….?total madness..pure greed full stop..
    And until we see through it then it will always be…wonder will Dublin be moving outside cosy Croke park this winter…doubt it..!
    I wonder if any county board arranged the club championship like the inter county then they wouldn’t get away with it…only one championship game?its a disgrace

  31. I challenge anybody here to a bet, it is as follows, if / when the Dubs will be in the 2020 final ALL “Social Distancing ” will be thrown out the window or to use the Health experts words “relaxed” with a big crowd in Croker of mainly Dub supporters ( travel and other excuses will be the excuse ).
    Anybody up for this ?

  32. I 100% agree with you Mayo 88. Like the time they delayed throw in times so the Dubs could drink up and stroll into Croker at their leisure whilst people from Blacksod and Carratigue had to up at the crack of dawn and rush their breakfast to make it there. No such thing as “off with ye to Limerick now if ye know what’s good for ye” the politics in the Gaa makes me sick

  33. Mayo the best supporters and the best whingers. If you can’t look forward to knockout games that will shorten the dreary winter months I don’t know what to say.

    High class Premiership games and rugby are played through the winter months.

  34. Well said Man of Aran!. The whingeing on this thread is through the roof.

    Im looking forward to a bit of ball, games will have earlier throw in’s too, which suits, better to be up earlier and home earlier. The biggest danger is obviously a second wave, but bad weather could really scupper the GAA’s plans. A couple a weeks of heavy snow and the whole thing could be goosed til 2021! Not impossible.

  35. Mayo Dunphy – As things stand 500 allowed at outdoor events. That would leave room for 350/400 supporters which would allow players have there families there.

  36. How is it a money spinner if crowds will not be permitted to attend ? I’d hazard a guess as things stand and were not to change games held would be at a financial loss for HQ

  37. Just throwing In some changes that bode well for Mayo .
    I think Mayo will beat Kerry in the semi and then face Dublin in the final .
    A Dublin team minus manager Jim Gavin ,plus Connolly , Brogan , O Hara, and now Jack MCCaffrey . Definitely weaker than before .
    So this Dub supporter will be cheering for the Dubs but think this could finally be ur year .

  38. O’Gara and brogan didn’t play any meaningful game last year and Connolly only featured for a part of the final if I remember all that correctly. McCaffrey is a class act but they’ve won without him before .

    Anyhow no matter what happens to them they’ve always found a way to win the last 5 years, I’ve just accepted it as an inevitability for the foreseeable future. Maybe Kerry might sneak one in the next 2/3 years but I wouldn’t put the house on that either

    All that said the 2020 championship is just so far off even happening, i cannot really begin to think about it in any meaningful way as of now.

    By October we could have almost full crowds at games or no championship at all. That’s how insanely uncertain life is at the moment

    I’m delighted though that we’ll be getting some club action again before long. Sadly there’ll be lots of disappointed club diehards who won’t get to games though.

  39. Sean Burke. No crowds mean more advertising space. Another brilliant way for more income.

  40. Last year’s league final currently showing on TG4, we just cannot get away from it, watching this game if it were live.
    Ps, I think I saw one of the Mayo panel yesterday, the guy looked in great physical shape, must be doing alot of Joe Wicks ( the Bodycoach ) exercises like myself this past few months.

  41. What’s the story with injuries?
    I wonder will Cillian be fit to play in October?

  42. @HillyBits You’d imagine by 17th October all injuries cleared. Any player that did steady stretching, strength, core and speed work will be in the great shape. There’s been no matches to disrupt progression. No travel to disrupt recovery.

  43. Too bad the new Air Dome in Bekan is not complete.
    Imagine playing the Dubs on a cold Saturday night with the snow outside.
    No supporters pay per view.

  44. It’ll be ready by then Carraig Dubh! I don’t think I’ll be able to get an image of what that might look like out of my head for the day now.

  45. Jp , as seen with Jack Mc Caffreys desicion yesterday, I would think there may be more players opting out this year. A lot of work/ effort for the possibility of one game.
    Also players picking up serious injuries playing club over the coming weeks after a long lay off is a guarantee..

  46. Will be interesting to see how many of our walking wounded who missed the league , will be fit and available for the club championship.

  47. @casual observer:

    “The pairing of Muster Connaught is 100% correct going by the cycle.”

    Good explanation, so the semi final pairing is correct, i assumed the super 8 pairings were aligned to the rotation.
    So basically they schedule the not so super 8’s pairing with the aim of having C v L or M c U etc.

    So we have nothing to complain about so?

  48. Why the confusion over the Leitrim v Mayo fixture if it was scheduled to be a home fixture for Leitrim at Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada then any rearranged game should also be at Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada.

    As for Connacht chief John Prenty why is he hell bent on holding the Connacht final in Croke Park !

  49. @jeff he’s hell bent because the expected crowd for a Connacht final 20,000 to 25,000 will be allowed in Croke Park and not in Connacht.

    I see in other news the Murtaghs brothers have returned to the Roscommon panel a big boost to them.

  50. Awful whinging on here…it’s great to have something to look forward too…club first and then sit back and watch a feast of football and hurling….its not a normal year and the GAA have handled it as best as anyone could.

    We all need hope…the WHO today announced the worse is yet to come so who knows if it will even happen but we must have hope otherwise what’s the bloody point?

  51. Well that was great straight talking from Michael Duignan on Off the Ball last night. Very impressive and worth a listen.

  52. Also great interview in today’s Mayo News with Chairman of Lacken GAA club Paddy Connor outlining the struggles of a small rural club. He speaks of the “savage burden” on clubs with the loan payments on McHale Park and trying to sell the 100e tickets. Well done Mr. Connor for speaking out.

  53. Exactly @yew_tree, I can’t effing wait for Intercounty to start up again. A straight knockout championship with an AI Final the week before Christmas? Bring it on.

  54. Mayo88,
    It does not take a crowd of 30,000 in Croke Park for the GAA to break even. Logic has to include the ticket price before you can begin any calculation and a first round Leinster game and an All Ireland semifinal would produce vastly different calculations. On average it takes a crowd of 30,000 for Croke Park Ltd (i.e. the company which runs Croke Park for the GAA) to break even. I believe their income from a game is the same as any other ground running an intercounty game, i.e. 10% of the gate. The costs for the All Ireland semi would be considerably greater than for a first round Leinster game (Gardai, stewards etc) thus taking account of the variation in ticket price (or the 10% of the price)

  55. Andy,
    My bet is still available, the Gaa will have biggish crowds to facilitate the Dubs in Croker, 2 m will be even less than 1 m.

  56. Football across the water are anticipating crowds back at reduced capacity by September , of course there is an unpredictable aspect to all this re the virus but if things stay on course in Ireland and there is no significant second wave you’d imagine there would be fairly decent crowds allowed by all Ireland semi final stage . Who knows sure but all I’m saying is in lay man terms the U.K. seem worse off than us and if they’re expecting to be able to facilitate some form of reduced attendance at football grounds you’d expect Ireland to be at least in line with that forecast model or optimistically you could suggest we could be in a better position to allow for crowds at sporting venues .

  57. Its only a matter of time before the Gaa decide to divide the pitch up with perspex.

    You’ll have to buy a 9 euro bag of tayto to get in and you’ll have to leave just before half time.

    Nobody will know if its the flu or the virus they have.

    If there’s a team going well in the championship it’ll be a touch of the flu Tommy has. If a team is likely to get mauled there will be self isolations.

    The President of the Gaa won’t be able to hand over the cup due to distancing. If Mayo manage to win it, they, the Gaa will probably leave the cup on a table outside a sheebeen in Kinnegad for us to pick up on the way home.

    It doesn’t look great but we’ll take it.

  58. Anyone hear about unusual throw in times for start of championship in October..if that is it goes ahead all things considered in the last few days? Must be so RTE can televise as many as possible. Heard today about as early as 11am in some cases?

  59. Didn’t hear any times mentioned, where did you get the information? But judging by the lack of traffic on this wonderful website, you’d have to ask if there’s an appetite for football ? And if that appetite will be there in the depths of November and December?? Dark at 5 and likely raining goodo, sideways of course courtesy of the storm accompanying it.
    God how I wish for the good old days when bitching about Roscommon or the price of the pack of Tayto in Croke Park was my biggest concern.

  60. Hear, hear Dave! A year ago yesterday we beat Galway down in Limerick and this place was fairly humming. That seems like a world away now.

  61. Let’s bear in mind there is a lot of games to playoff, it’s later in the year with less sunlight. I’ve no issue with an 11am start as long as not like a 3 hour journey. I’ve played a match at 9:30am!! That’s an experience I can tell you 🙂

  62. Need very early start for pitches without lights. Dublin to play all games at home is the talk in Meath

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