What the rest of the 2020 GAA season could look like

John Fogarty looks at how the rest of the GAA calendar will play out.
What the rest of the 2020 GAA season could look like
Offaly football manager John Maughan draws out the name of Dublin during The GAA Championship Draw 2019 at RTÉ Studios in Donnybrook, Dublin. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Offaly football manager John Maughan draws out the name of Dublin during The GAA Championship Draw 2019 at RTÉ Studios in Donnybrook, Dublin. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

John Fogarty looks at how the rest of the GAA calendar will play out.

ALL-IRELAND SENIOR HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP

A straight knockout competition starting with the provinces appears to be the restructure of choice, which could take as little as five weekends and likely no more than eight or nine.

A draw would be required to determine who gets a bye into the provincial semi-finals — prior to 2018 Leinster afforded that right to the previous year’s winners.

It’s been suggested the Munster winners would face the Leinster runners-up and vice-versa in All-Ireland semi-finals over one weekend.

Three game weekends would be required for the Leinster and Munster competitions (first round, semi-finals, final) and two for the All-Ireland semi-finals and final.

The addition of a qualifier system wouldn’t be too taxing on time but is a long shot.

ALL-IRELAND SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

As mentioned in this newspaper before, there is no need for a redraw as the provincial Championship schedules were organised last October.

The competition could be completed in as little as six weekends and likely no more than nine — Leinster and Ulster require four weekends, Munster three as well as Connacht depending on how they reassess the participants in their competition.

Like hurling, a knockout format is favoured and if the semi-final rota for the Super 8 is maintained, the Leinster and Munster champions would face off in one of the last-four games.

That being said, a backdoor structure could be incorporated by overlapping with provincial semi-finals and finals but the chances of it are slim.

ALL-IRELAND U20 HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP

As it stands in Munster, Tipperary are due to face Clare and Cork are down to take on Kerry in quarter-finals with the winners of each facing Waterford and Limerick respectively.

In Leinster, eight teams were to be involved in a tiered format but both would be expected to become sudden death with the provincial winners possibly facing one another in an All-Ireland final.

ALL-IRELAND U20 FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

The All-Ireland semi-finals are yet to be played — Kerry v Galway, Dublin v Tyrone.

ALL-IRELAND MINOR HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP

A straight knockout format is expected to replace the current provincial round-robin structure and the Leinster and Munster winners could make up the All-Ireland final.

ALL-IRELAND MINOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

Based on provincial draws that have already taken place, it would follow the same as the senior championship and become a straight knockout with All-Ireland semi-finals.

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CLARE

Current senior championship systems — Hurling: Sixteen teams competing with second chances for teams beaten in round one and first round winners beaten by fellow first round winners in round two.

Football: Four groups comprising 13 teams with top eight qualifying for knockout stages.

Possible 2020 alternative: Sixteen teams drilled down to one across four knockout weekends in hurling. A similar knockout football structure involving first round and quarter-final byes.

CORK

Current senior championship systems — Hurling and football: New premier senior championships were to involve 12 club teams across four groups with nine of them feeding into the knock-out phase along with the winner of the colleges/divisional section.

Possible 2020 alternative: In a dual county, the knockout alternative will be the structure not of choice but necessity. How the divisional teams, including reigning senior hurling champions Imokilly, will be facilitated will be interesting.

KERRY

Current senior championship systems — Hurling: Follows the same structure as the Christy Ring Cup — eight teams split into two groups of four.

Football: Sixteen teams were at the starting line after a divisional play-off. As in the Clare SHC, the eight winners from Round 1 proceeded to Round 2A and the losers to Round 2B. Round 2A winners advanced to quarter-finals with Round 2A losers and 2B winners clashing in preliminary quarter-finals.

Possible 2020 alternative: Quarter-finals, semi-finals, and a final in hurling. In football, whittling down 16 teams to one.

LIMERICK

Current senior championship systems — Hurling: Two groups of six with six progressing to the knockout stages.

Football: More or less along the same lines as hurling.

Possible 2020 alternative: Knockout in both senior codes if not the chance to give each team two outings, but that will be difficult.

TIPPERARY

Current senior championship systems — Hurling: A smorgasbord of a format. Sixteen teams across four groups with top two in each going into the knockout stages where second placed teams might have to face divisional winners to make last eight.

Football: The same as hurling without the divisional dimension.

Possible 2020 alternative: Divisional championships not applicable and a straight 16-club knockout competition in each code.

WATERFORD

Current senior championship systems — hurling and football are played on the same format: Three groups of four with top team in each along with best second-placed team entering quarter-finals and remaining eight going into preliminary quarter-finals.

Possible 2020 alternative: Four teams given quarter-final byes with the other eight clashing in preliminary quarters to face them.

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