Here's how the restructured 2018 TG4 All-Ireland senior championship is shaping up

The road to Croker begins.

HERE WE GO again, as we prepare to embark on the TG4 All-Ireland senior football championship.

Players at yesterday's TG4 All-Ireland Championship launch. Players at yesterday's TG4 All-Ireland championship launch. Gary Carr / INPHO Gary Carr / INPHO / INPHO

The league has been and gone, the provincial championships are in the past and we’re basically starting with a clean slate for the revamped round-robin format.

The restructure brings some added excitement with more games and some mouth-watering clashes lined up and now that we know all of the groupings, here’s an explainer of how things will pan out.

The groups each have a provincial winner (Team A), a provincial runner-up (Team B) and an other — a side who were knocked out of their province before the final (Team C).

Group 1 

  • Donegal
  • Kerry
  • Tipperary

Group 2

  • Cork
  • Armagh
  • Monaghan

Group 3 

  • Galway
  • Westmeath
  • Waterford

Group 4

  • Dublin
  • Mayo
  • Cavan

Each of the teams play each other in the group with the top two in each qualifying for quarter finals. Here’s how the fixtures in each group look:

  • Week 1 (14 July) — Team C v Team B
  • Week 2 (21 July) — Team A v Team C
  • Week 3 (28 July) — Team B v Team A

It’s your standard three points for a win, one point for a draw after 60 minutes.

Here’s how it looks exactly:

Image uploaded from iOS TG4 Championship 2018 Guide. TG4 Championship 2018 Guide.

The quarter finals shape up like this then:

  • 1) 1st Group 1 v 2nd Group 2
  • 2) 1st Group 2 v 2nd Group 3
  • 3) 1st Group 3 v 2nd Group 4
  • 4) 1st Group 4 v 2nd Group 1

Result on the day (if still level at full-time, extra-time will be played followed by 30m kicks).

And semis:

  • Winner QF 1 v Winner QF 2
  • Winner QF 3 v Winner QF 4

Result on the day (if still level at full-time, extra-time will be played followed by 30m kicks).

The two winners then face off in the All-Ireland senior final in Croke Park on 16 September (replay 30 September, if necessary).

Relegation to the intermediate flight will also be decided differently as a result of the new championship structures. The teams who finish in 3rd place in each group participate in the relegation play-offs, unless they’re a provincial winner — they’re exempt.

  • 3rd Group 1 v 3rd Group 3
  • 3rd Group 2 v 3rd Group 4

Result on the day (if still level at full-time, extra-time will be played followed by 30m kicks).

Nicole Owens with Niamh Kelly Dublin beat Mayo in last year's decider. Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

The two losers of these play-offs then face off in a relegation battle on 18 August at a neutral venue, with the loser relegated to intermediate for 2019.

If just three, or two, teams are eligible, there’ll be an alternative format.

State of play

What we’ve seen in the Lidl Ladies National Football League and Provincial Championships in 2018 to date bodes really well for the All-Ireland series.

Several teams have made statements of intent to date and established themselves as serious All-Ireland contenders, so it will be interesting to see how they navigate the round-robin stages.

Just look at Donegal racking up 9-21 against Armagh in the Ulster final while 2017 All-Ireland champions got their defence of the Brendan Martin Cup off to a bright start as they powered to a seventh Leinster title in-a-row at the weekend.

Mayo and Galway played out a thriller in the Connacht final with the latter triumphing, and Cork stole the Munster crown back from Kerry after a fierce battle under the sun in CIT.

Yvonne McMonagle Donegal star Yvonne Bonnar. Tom Beary / INPHO Tom Beary / INPHO / INPHO

With the gap narrowing, results could go any way on any given day so it’s sure to be a tough one to call. But that can only mean good things — it’s set to be an extremely exciting summer of ladies football.

Yesterday TG4 announced a four-year extension of their backing of the All-Ireland ladies football championships, and committed to screening 17 championship fixtures during the 2018 season.

The first commences on 14 July while on All-Ireland final day on 16 September, they’ll carry the junior, intermediate and senior deciders live.

The42 is on Instagram! Tap the button below on your phone to follow us!

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel