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Explainer: Here's how the 2019 TG4 All-Ireland senior championship is shaping up

The groups are all but finalised, and we’re almost ready for the road to Croker.

WITH THREE OF four provincial titles handed out, excitement is building for the 2019 TG4 All-Ireland senior championships.

Sinead Aherne lifts the trophy Can Dublin make it three in-a-row in September? Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Back-to-back national champions Dublin made it eight in-a-row in Leinster at the weekend, while Donegal captured their third successive Ulster crown.

In Munster, Cork took the honours this year while we’re eagerly anticipating the Connacht final replay between Mayo and Galway this weekend. The arch rivals face of at Limerick’s Gaelic Grounds on Saturday evening [throw-in 4pm], and that acts as part of a double-header with their male counterparts.

That aside, we now have a much clearer picture of the groupings for this year’s All-Ireland series, with 12 counties in the race for Brendan Martin Cup glory on 15 September. 

The groups are all but confirmed, with the Connacht winner joining Kerry and Westmeath while the runners-up will go against Ulster sides Tyrone and Donegal in Group 4.

So how are they all looking?

Four groups, each containing three teams — a provincial winner, a provincial finalist, and an other. Like last year, the top two in each group progress to the quarter finals. 

Here’s how they stand:

Group 1 

  • Cavan 
  • Armagh (Ulster finalists)
  • Cork (Munster champions)

Group 2 

  • Dublin (Leinster champions)
  • Monaghan 
  • Waterford (Munster finalists)

Group 3 

  • Kerry 
  • Westmeath (Leinster finalists)
  • Winner of Mayo/Galway (Connacht champions)

Group 4

  • Tyrone 
  • Donegal (Ulster champions)
  • Loser of Mayo/Galway (Connacht finalists)

As per last year’s restructure, it’s your standard three points for a win, one point for a draw after 60 minutes.

When does it all kick off and how do the fixtures pan out?

12/13/14 July — group stages (first team listed plays at home)

Group 1 Round 1: Cavan v Armagh

Group 2 Round 1: Waterford v Dublin 

Group 3 Round 1: Connacht champions v Kerry

Group 4 Round 1: Tyrone v Connacht finalists

19/20/21 July

Group 1 Round 2: Cork v Cavan 

Group 2 Round 2: Monaghan v Waterford

Group 3 Round 2: Westmeath v Connacht champions 

Group 4 Round 2: Donegal v Tyrone 

26/27/28 July 

Group 1 Round 3: Armagh v Cork

Group 2 Round 3: Dublin v Monaghan 

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Group 3 Round 3: Kerry v Westmeath 

Group 4 Round 3: Connacht finalists v Donegal

2/3/4/5 August — quarter-final stages

QF 1. 1st Group 1 v 2nd Group 4

QF 2. 1st Group 2 v 2nd Group 3

10 August — quarter-final stages ctd.

QF 3. 1st Group 3 v 2nd Group 3

QF 4. 1st Group 4 v 2nd Group 1 

24 August — semi-final stages 

SF 1. Winner QF 1 v winner QF 2 

SF 2. Winner QF 3 v winner QF 4

15 Septemer — TG4 All-Ireland final, Croke Park 

(Replay on 29 September if necessary)

Ciara O'Sullivan with the trophy as the team celebrates Cork lifted the trophy for the 11th time in 12 years in 2016. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Last year, relegation to the intermediate flight was decided with teams who finished third in their group facing off (unless they were a provincial winner) and then the losers of those two ties going head to head in a survival battle.

State of play

What we’ve seen in the Lidl Ladies National Football League and the provincial championships in 2019 to date bodes well for the All-Ireland series.

The big question, of course, is can Mick Bohan’s Dublin make it three in-a-row… or can they be stopped?

Cork have been motoring along nicely, dethroning the Sky Blues in the league as they beat an exciting Galway team in the Division 1 decider and following that up with a brilliant Munster championship run.

The Tribeswomen and Peter Leahy’s Mayo played out a thrilling first installment out west, and whoever comes out on top on Saturday will be bursting with confidence ahead of the business end of the year. 

Donegal came through a tough Ulster championship, their semi-final against Cavan heading to extra-time before they beat Armagh in the decider. Forced to show their true grit, those tougher games may stand to them later in the year while, Dublin, for example, have played just one competitive fixture since their league exit.

Sides who failed to make their respective provincial finals will be hurting, and hoping to make a point in the All-Ireland series so one can’t write the Breffni, Kerry, 2018 All-Ireland intermediate champions Tyrone or Monaghan off just yet.

Likewise, Westmeath, Armagh and Division 2 league champions Waterford will be back and raring to go after their recent decider defeats.

One thing’s for sure: it’s all heating up, and we’re in for another blistering summer of action.


Who do you think will be crowned All-Ireland senior champions this year?

Poll Results:

Dublin (147)
Cork (137)
Other (39)
Donegal (31)
Mayo (29)
Galway (26)

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About the author:

Emma Duffy

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