Declan Hannon captained Limerick to All Ireland SHC glory earlier this month.
Declan Hannon captained Limerick to All Ireland SHC glory earlier this month.

2021 League and Championships – Overview

1.Providing a meaningful closed season/down time:

-No return to collective Senior inter county training before January 15th

-Senior inter county challenge games allowed from Start of February – due to covid and its associated risks, no training or games that will involve an overnight stay are permitted during pre-season.

-No return to collective inter county minor training (H & F) or U20 Football before Friday 5th February; challenge games in these grades will be permitted from Friday, February 26th.

-No return to collective inter county U20 Hurling training before Friday, April 2nd. Challenge games will be permitted from April 23rd

-No Provincial “pre-season” competitions

2.Allianz Leagues


-Run from Feb 27/28 to League finals weekend on April 3rd/4th

-Pick up” weekend included – provision to allow competition to run over by one week if necessary

-Divisions will be split into North and South

-4 teams in each group – based on geography

-3 Round Robin games per team

-Top two in each Divisional group to league semis, followed by league final

-Bottom two in each Divisional group to Relegation semis – losers (2) relegated

-Bottom teams in Division 4 to Shield semis and final.

-Provision made to run either with London or without depending on restrictions.


-Run from Feb 27/28 to league finals weekend on April 10th/11th

-“Pick up” weekend included – provision to allow competition to run over by one week if necessary, also allowed for

-Run on same basis as in a normal year (Div1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b) except no League Quarter or Semi Finals – Division 1 league final will be Div 1a winners v Div 1b winners; top two teams in all other groups play the relevant league final.

-Provision made to run either with British based teams (London, Warwickshire and Lancashire) or without depending on restrictions

-If without…… London and Warwickshire will be exempt from relegation (i.e. they will start 2022 in Divisions 2b and 3a respectively)

-Decision will be formally taken on the participation of British teams in January and depending on Restrictions in place.

3. 2021 Football Championships

-Provincial knock-out Championships with back-door qualifier system and Tailteann Cup

-No Round Robin quarter finals

-New York NOT involved in Connacht Championship as this will take place in early April and impossible to plan for this currently – decision on their participation in Tailteann Cup to be made subject to restrictions (Tailteann date if they are involved is 16 May)

-Round 1 of Qualifiers (if required) to be limited to teams that did not make their provincial semi-finals

-London participation to be a matter for Connacht Council based on restrictions (date is 17/18 April if they are to be involved)


Tommy Conroy, Mayo, and Eoin Murchan, Dublin, during the All Ireland SFC Final.
Tommy Conroy, Mayo, and Eoin Murchan, Dublin, during the All Ireland SFC Final.


4. 2021 Tailteann Cup

-For teams in Div 3 and 4 of the football league at the end of the 2021 league season (i.e. AFTER promotion/Relegation process), that DO NOT reach their respective Provincial Finals

-Preliminary Round(s) to be organized if more than 16 eligible teams

-If NY are allowed participate, they will be drawn against an eligible team defeated in either Round 1 or a Quarter final of the Provincial Championships – game date May 16 (this may be a preliminary Qualifier if more than 16 teams eligible).

-Recommended that Provincial Champions from the previous year – regardless of whether they are Division 3 or 4 Counties or not – are automatically included in Sam Maguire Qualifiers even if they do not qualify for their provincial final in 2021

-Recommended if NY are involved, their game(s) will be in Ireland.

-Rounds – Prelim Round (if required), Round 1, Quarter Finals, Semi Finals and Final

-Semi Finals on Sunday June 6th – Croke Park double header; will be only significant games in the calendar on that date

-Final to be a curtain raiser to the All Ireland Hurling Semi Final on June 26/27

5. 2021 Liam MacCarthy Cup

-Provincial knock-out Championships with back-door qualifier system (as in 2020) but with introduction of relegation to Mc Donagh Cup

-Munster – Limerick, Waterford, Tipperary, Clare, Cork

-Leinster – Kilkenny, Galway, Wexford, Dublin, Laois, Antrim

-There will be 11 teams in Liam Mac Carthy in 2021 – there will be a preliminary round in the qualifiers between the two defeated Quarter final teams.

-Winners progress to Qualifiers Rd 1 – Losers to Mc Donagh Cup 2022

6. 2021 McDonagh Cup and 2021 Ring, Rackard and Meagher Cups

-Recommending Mc Donagh Cup winners are promoted in 2021 but do not have a back door into Liam Mac Carthy

-Mc Donagh Cup and LSHC Final to be on Saturday, 22nd May to ensure Live TV coverage of Mc Donagh Cup final.

McDonagh Cup: Kerry, Westmeath, Meath, Carlow, Kildare, Down

Ring Cup: Roscommon, Sligo, Wicklow, Derry, Offaly, London

Rackard Cup: Donegal, Mayo, Leitrim, Armagh, Tyrone, Warwickshire

Meagher Cup: Monaghan, Longford, Louth, Cavan, Fermanagh, Lancashire

All of the above played on the following basis:

-Semi finals – Winner Group A v Runner Up Group B, and Winner Group B v Runner Up Group A

-Final (Home venue to Group winners)

-Draws to be made when it is clear if British based teams are participating or not.

-IF British teams ARE NOT PARTICIPATING in Ring, Rackard & Meagher – alternative competition structures will be put in place.


Antrim's Neil McManus celebrates following the Joe McDonagh Cup Final at Croke Park.
Antrim’s Neil McManus celebrates following the Joe McDonagh Cup Final at Croke Park.


7. U20 Football

-Provincial Knock-out competition

-No U20 league

-Window for Championship 27/28 March to AI Final on 1st/2nd May (6 weekends)

8. U20 Hurling

-Provincial Knock-out competition

-No All Ireland Semi-Finals – All Ireland final is Leinster Winners v Munster Winners

-Window for Championship May 22nd/23rd (with break for Leaving Cert) to AI Final on 10/11 July

-All Ireland final as curtain raiser to All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final

-U20 B Hurling similar window (final on July 3rd)

9. Minor Hurling and Football

-Window – 20/21st March to 22/23 May

-De-coupled from Senior All Ireland Championships

-Development C.C.C.C to bring forward proposals on how these should be structured.

-Main All Ireland Finals to ideally be in Croke Park if possible

-All knock out games in the above Championship competitions, will be subject to finish on the day regulations – EXCEPTION: All Ireland Senior Football and Hurling Finals (Tier 1), which will have Extra time in the original fixture, and will be finish on the day in the event of a replay only.

10. 2021 Club Window Provisions

-Club competitions – largely without County players – can take place in the Spring and early summer months covid regulations permitting.

-Uninterrupted main Club Championship Window from July 24/25 to Oct 23/24

-Provincial Club Championship window primarily from 16/17 Oct to Nov 27/28

-Suggested Provincial Draws are not made until All Ireland Quarter final participants in the senior inter county championships are known. County champions from the teams involved to NOT be involved in Round 1/Quarter finals in Provincial club championships where possible.

-All Ireland Club Championship Semi-finals in December

-2021 All Ireland Club Finals to take place in January 2022