GAA Director General Paraic Duffy and President Aogan O'Fearghail at today's media briefing.

GAA reveal football championship reform plans to include quarter-final round-robin stage

The announcement was made at Croke Park this afternoon.

THE GAA HAS this morning revealed their plans for reform of the All-Ireland football championships.

The key proposal will see the All-Ireland football quarter-final stage replaced by a group round-robin format.

The All-Ireland football semi-finals will be played on the last weekend of August – one Saturday and one Sunday.

The quarter-final groupings will take place in the following fashion:

Group 1: Munster champions, Connacht champions, Ulster runner-up (or team that defeats them in Round 4), Leinster runner-up (or team that defeats them in Round 4).

Group 2: Ulster champions, Leinster champions, Munster runner-up (or team that defeats them in Round 4), Connacht runner-up (or team that defeats them in Round 4)

Significantly while the first round of their quarter-final round-robin games will take place in Croke Park, the remaining matches will take place at the home venues of other counties involved.

It creates the prospect of Dublin travelling out of Croke Park for games after the Leinster championship.

If teams finish level on points in the quarter-final round-robin stage, the following tie breakers will apply (in order of application):

  1. Result of game between two tied teams (only where two tied teams are level on points)
  2. Score difference
  3. Highest score for
  4. Goals scored
  5. Play-off match
In the opening three rounds of the All-Ireland football qualifiers, a Division 3 or 4 team will have a home advantage if drawn against a Division 1 or 2 team. The format of ‘A’ and ‘B’ sides to the qualifier draw will be ended

The early stages of the All-Ireland series will unfold as follows:

  • Round 1: 16 teams that do not reach provincial semi-finals
  • Round 2: 8 Round 1 winners to play 8 defeated provincial semi-finalists
  • Round 3: 8 Round 2 winners to play each other on an open draw basis
  • Round 4: The four Round 3 winners play four provincial runners-up

The GAA have also urged that efforts should be made to tighten up the calendar year. As an example Director-General Pauric Duffy has proposed that the All-Ireland hurling final could be brought forward to take place on the third weekend of August.

The Division 1 football league semi-finals will also be scrapped to create extra time as well in the calendar.

The GAA have explained that the options for immediate radical and comprehensive change are quite limited given this year’s Congress has proved that there is not enough appetite to abolish the provincial championships.

“The proposals outlined here seek to present a modest adjustment to the championship format that would produce a more exciting senior football championship within the current provincial championship structure and in a way that should not have a negative impact on the the playing of county club championships.”

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