2018 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship

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2018 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship
All Ireland football logo.PNG
Championship details
Dates 6 May – 2 September 2018
Teams 33
All-Ireland Champions
Provincial Champions
Championship statistics
2017
2019

The 2018 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship is the 131st edition of the GAA's premier inter-county gaelic football competition since its establishment in 1887.

Thirty-three teams took part – thirty-one of the thirty-two counties of Ireland (Kilkenny, as in previous years, did not enter), London and New York.[1]

Format

Provincial Championships format

Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster each organise a provincial championship.[2][3][4][5] All teams who lose a match in their provincial championship (with the exception of New York) enter the All-Ireland qualifiers. All provincial matches are knock-out.

Qualifiers format

Twenty eight of the twenty nine teams beaten in the provincial championships enter the All-Ireland qualifiers, which are knockout. Sixteen of the seventeen teams (New York do not enter the qualifiers) eliminated before their provincial semi-finals play eight matches in round 1, with the winners of these games playing the eight beaten provincial semi-finalists in round 2. The eight winning teams from round 2 play-off against each other in round 3, with the four winning teams facing the four beaten provincial finalists in round 4 to complete the double-elimination format. Further details of the format are included with each qualifier round listed below.

All-Ireland format

Significant changes to the format of the All-Ireland championship were passed at the GAA's Annual Congress in February 2017 and implemented in the 2018 championship. The major change was the creation of the All-Ireland Super 8's (officially referred to as the All-Ireland Quarter-Final Group Stage), which replaced the knockout quarter-finals. The eight remaining teams in the Championship are split into two groups of four teams. One group features the Connacht champions, Munster champions, Leinster runners-up (or the team that defeats them in the qualifiers) and Ulster runners-up (or the team that defeats them in the qualifiers). The reverse is employed for the other group, which features the Leinster champions, Ulster champions, Connacht runners-up (or the team that defeats them in the qualifiers) and Munster runners-up (or team that defeats them in the qualifiers).[6]

The top two teams in each of the two Super 8 groups advance to the semi-finals, with the winners of those matches meeting in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final.[6] The All-Ireland final was initially scheduled for 26 August 2018 but was moved to 2 September 2018 to avoid clashing with Pope Francis's visit to Ireland.[7]

A number of former players have publicly criticised the new format as they believe it will result in the same top county teams regularly playing at least three high-profile matches in July and August while the remaining teams are without competitive football until the end of December, thereby enabling the top teams to become even more elite. Prominent sportswriter and RTÉ Sport analyst Joe Brolly referred to the new system as the "Super 8/Crap 25".[8] The changes will be trialled for three years before being reviewed by the GAA in late 2020.

Rule changes from 2017 championship

  • From 1 January 2018 the kickout must travel beyond the 20 metre line. Previously the players had to be outside the 20 metre line before the kickout was taken but could run inside to collect possession. The referee throws the ball up on the 20 metre line between a member of each team if the rule is breached by the team taking the kickout.[9]
  • Replays will only be held for drawn provincial finals and All-Ireland finals, with extra time to be played in all other championship matches except the Super 8 group matches. Initially two periods of ten minutes each way are played; if the score is still level two further periods of five minutes each way are played; if the score is still level, a free-taking competition is held until a winner is determined.[10]
  • The A and B split system for the qualifier draws introduced in 2014 has been discontinued.[11]

Provincial Championships

Connacht Senior Football Championship

The Connacht county teams play London and New York on a rotational basis. The match involving New York is now a quarter-final (it was a preliminary game in the years 2015-17).


Quarter-Finals
Semi-Finals Connacht Final
Colors of New York.svg New York  
Colours of Leitrim.svg Leitrim     Winner of quarter-final A  
        Colours of Roscommon.svg Roscommon  
         
Colours of Leinster Council.svg London      
Colours of Sligo.svg Sligo     Winner of quarter-final B
Colours of Mayo.svg Mayo     Winner of quarter-final C    
Colours of Galway.svg Galway  

Leinster Senior Football Championship

The four teams who won the quarter-finals in the previous year are given byes to this year's quarter-finals. Six of the seven remaining teams play off in the first round with the seventh team receiving a bye to the quarter-finals.

First Round
Quarter-Finals Semi-Finals Leinster Final
     
        Colours of Galway.svg Westmeath  
Colours of Laois.svg Laois     First round winner  
Colours of Wexford.svg Wexford       Winner of quarter-final A  
          Winner of quarter-final B  
        Colours of Kildare.svg Kildare  
Colours of Cork.svg Louth     First round winner  
Colours of Carlow.svg Carlow      
         
        Colours of Dublin.svg Dublin  
Colours of Offaly.svg Offaly     First round winner  
Colours of Roscommon.svg Wicklow       Winner of quarter-final C  
          Winner of quarter-final D  
        Colours of Leitrim.svg Meath      
        Colours of Roscommon.svg Longford      
     

Munster Senior Football Championship

The two teams who won the semi-finals in the previous year are given byes to this year's semi-finals.

Quarter-Finals
Semi-Finals Munster Final
Colours of Clare.svg Clare  
Colours of Leinster Council.svg Limerick     Winner of quarter-final A  
        Colours of Leitrim.svg Kerry  
         
         
        Colours of Cork.svg Cork
Colours of Roscommon.svg Tipperary     Winner of quarter-final B    
Colours of Monaghan.svg Waterford  

Ulster Senior Football Championship

All nine teams are drawn randomly without conditions to determine the fixtures.

Preliminary Round
Quarter-Finals Semi-Finals Final
     
        Colours of Leinster Council.svg Fermanagh  
        Colours of Armagh.svg Armagh  
          Winner of quarter-final A  
          Winner of quarter-final B  
        Colours of Tyrone.svg Tyrone  
        Colours of Monaghan.svg Monaghan  
         
         
        Colours of Down.svg Down  
        Colours of Antrim.svg Antrim  
          Winner of quarter-final C  
          Winner of quarter-final D  
        Colours of Cork.svg Derry      
Colours of Leitrim.svg Donegal     Winner of preliminary round      
Colours of Laois.svg Cavan  

All-Ireland Qualifiers

Qualifiers Format

The A and B split system for the qualifier draws introduced in 2014 was discontinued after 2017. In rounds one to three, teams from divisions three and four of the National Football League have home advantage if drawn against teams from divisions one or two.[12] All matches are knockout.

Qualifiers Round 1

In the first round, sixteen of the seventeen teams beaten in the preliminary rounds or quarter-finals of the provincial championships compete. New York does not enter the qualifiers. The round 1 draw is unrestricted − if two teams have played each other in a provincial match they can be drawn to meet again. The eight winners of these matches play the eight beaten provincial semi-finalists in round 2 of the qualifiers.

The following teams take part in round 1 –

Qualifiers Round 2

In the second round, the eight beaten provincial semi-finalists play the eight winning teams from round 1 of the qualifiers. The round 2 draw is unrestricted − if two teams have played each other in a provincial match they can be drawn to meet again. The eight winners of these matches play each other in round 3.

The following teams take part in round 2 –

Qualifiers Round 3

In the third round, the eight winning teams from round 2 play off in four matches. Round 3 draw rules do not allow two teams that have played each other in a provincial match to meet again if such a pairing can be avoided. The four winners of these matches play the four beaten provincial finalists in round 4.

The following teams take part in round 3 –

Qualifiers Round 4

In the fourth round, the four beaten provincial finalists play the four winning teams from round 3 of the qualifiers. Round 4 draw rules do not allow two teams that have played each other in a provincial match to meet again if such a pairing can be avoided. The matches are normally held in neutral venues. The four winners of these matches play in the round robin All Ireland Super 8.

The following teams take part in round 4 –

All-Ireland

All-Ireland Super 8

The four provincial champions and the four winning teams from round four of the All-Ireland qualifiers compete in two groups of four teams during the months of July and August. Each group consists of two provincial champions and the two beaten finalists of the other two provinces or the team that beats them in round four of the qualifiers.

In the first round of fixtures in each group, the two provincial champions meet and the two qualifiers meet in Croke Park. In rounds two and three, each team has one home game and one away game (Dublin, if they qualify, will also play their home game at Croke Park). Two points are awarded for a win and one point for a draw.[13]

The top two teams in each group advance to the All-Ireland semi-finals.

Tie-breaker

If only two teams are level on group points -

  • The team that won the head-to-head match is ranked first
  • If this game was a draw, score difference (total scored minus total conceded in all group games) is used to rank the teams
  • If score difference is identical, total scored is used to rank the teams
  • If still identical, a play-off is required

If three or more teams are level on group points, score difference is used to rank the teams.

Group 1

Pos Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts Qualification
1 Flag of Connacht.svg Connacht Champions 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to semi-finals
2 Flag of Munster.svg Munster Champions 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 Leinster Runner-up/Round 4 Qualifier 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Ulster Runner-up/Round 4 Qualifier 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
First match(es) will be played on 14/15 July 2018. Source:

Group 2

Pos Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts Qualification
1 Flag of Leinster.svg Leinster Champions 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to semi-finals
2 Flag of Ulster.svg Ulster Champions 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 Connacht Runner-up/Round 4 Qualifier 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Munster Runner-up/Round 4 Qualifier 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
First match(es) will be played on 14/15 July 2018. Source:

All-Ireland Semi-Finals

The winners of Group 1 play the runners-up of Group 2 and the winners of Group 2 play the runners-up of Group 1.

RTÉ
Sky Sports
11/12 August 2018 (2018-08)
Semi-Final 1
Winner Group 1 v Runner-Up Group 2
RTÉ
Sky Sports
11/12 August 2018 (2018-08)
Semi-Final 2
Winner Group 2 v Runner-Up Group 1

All-Ireland Final

The final was initially planned for 26 August 2018. It was rescheduled to 2 September 2018 to avoid a clash with the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland.

RTÉ
Sky Sports
2 September 2018 (2018-09-02)
Final
Winner SF 1 v Winner SF 2

Stadia and locations

Each team has a nominal home stadium, though not all teams are guaranteed a home game over the course of the Championship. In addition, games may be played at a neutral or alternate venue. For example, Dublin have not played a Championship game in Parnell Park, their nominal home, since the 2004 Championship.[14]

  1. ^ Casement Park is not in use this season. Redevelopment is planned for the ground.

Live Gaelic Football On TV

RTÉ, the national broadcaster in Ireland, provide the majority of the live television coverage of the football championship in the second year of a five-year deal running from 2017 until 2021. Sky Sports also broadcast a number of matches and have exclusive rights to a number of games including some All-Ireland super 8 matches.

Live Gaelic Football On TV Schedule
Date Fixture &
Match Details
RTÉ
Sky Sports
Provincial and Qualifier Matches
13 May ?
Ulster Preliminary Round
RTÉ
BBC NI
May ?
Connacht Quarter-Final
RTÉ
All-Ireland Football Super 8
(officially - The Quarter-Final Group Stage)
July ?
Group 1 Round 1
RTÉ
July ?
Group 2 Round 1
RTÉ
All-Ireland Knockout Stage
All-Ireland Football Semi-Finals
August RTÉ
&
Sky Sports
All-Ireland Football Final
2 September RTÉ
&
Sky Sports

Referees Panel

Ciaran Branagan (An Dún)
Barry Cassidy (Doire)
David Coldrick (An Mhí)
Niall Cullen (Fear Manach)
Maurice Deegan (Laois)
David Gough (An Mhí)
Jerome Henry (Maigh Eo)
Padraig Hughes (Ard Mhacha)
Sean Hurson (Tír Eoghan)
Fergal Kelly (An Longfort)
Conor Lane (Corcaigh)
Martin McNally (Muineachán)
Joe McQuillan (An Cabhán)
Noel Mooney (An Cabhán)
Paddy Neilan (Ros Comáin)
Anthony Nolan (Cill Mhantáin)
Derek O'Mahony (Tiobraid Árann)
Cormac Reilly (An Mhí)

References

  1. ^ "Football - GAA.ie". 
  2. ^ "Connacht Championship @ GAA.ie". 
  3. ^ "Leinster Championship @ GAA.ie". 
  4. ^ "Munster Championship @ GAA.ie". 
  5. ^ "Ulster Championship @ GAA.ie". 
  6. ^ a b "'Super 8' system to replace Senior Football Championship quarter-finals after GAA vote". RTÉ Sport. 25 February 2017. 
  7. ^ "Football final will have a September date in 2018". RTÉ Sport. 12 October 2017. 
  8. ^ "GAA hierarchy focuses on the elite and leaves the Crap 25 to fend for themselves". Independent.ie. Retrieved 16 November 2017. 
  9. ^ "New 20-metre rule means goalkeepers will have to kick longer". HoganStand.com. 30 September 2017. 
  10. ^ "Championship draw heralds new beginning for GAA". The Irish Times. 19 October 2017. The abolition of replays will introduce the championship’s most dramatic quirk – the possibility of a free-taking competition...This will only happen in the rarest of circumstances, whereby a qualifier game is level after 70 minutes, still level after another two periods of 10 minutes each and then still level after two periods of five minutes each. 
  11. ^ "Championship draw heralds new beginning for GAA". The Irish Times. 19 October 2017. For the first time since 2013, the All-Ireland qualifiers will not be split into A and B sides. Initially a measure designed to create more room in the calendar for club matches, it was done away with in among the raft of broader club-friendly changes at the 2017 Congress. 
  12. ^ "Championship draw heralds new beginning for GAA". The Irish Times. 19 October 2017. For the first time, in the opening three rounds of the qualifiers home advantage will be given to Division Three and Four teams that are drawn against teams from Division One and Two. 
  13. ^ "Championship draw heralds new beginning for GAA". The Irish Times. 19 October 2017. The qualifiers will feed into the Super Eights...There will be two points for a win, one point for a draw. 
  14. ^ "Here are the last 10 times Dublin footballers played outside Croke Park". Irish Examiner. 1 June 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2018. 
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