The new Allianz Football League format for the 2021 competition will be quick, exciting and ultra-competitive as it breaks into North-South divides across all four divisions. It runs from the weekend of May 15/16 to June 19/20.
This is the 29th season that Allianz has sponsored the Allianz Leagues, making it one of the longest sponsorships in Irish sporting history. In addition, Allianz has supported primary schools Gaelic Games since 1993 through their sponsorship of Allianz Cumann na mBunscol.
Each county (except in Division 4 South where there are three teams) will play three group games, after which there will be semi-finals, finals (subject to certain conditions) and relegation play-offs. If teams who win semi-finals are due to play a Championship game on the following weekend, the final will not be played. Instead, joint-winners will be declared.
The small groupings in each division will make every game very important in the race for semi-final places and the battle to avoid being dragged into a relegation play-off.
CEO of Allianz Ireland, Seán McGrath said: “For nearly three decades we have witnessed the ever-growing profile and reputation of this competition as well as the public appetite for Gaelic Games.
We are excited to welcome extended coverage of the 2021 Allianz Leagues with partners, eirSport, TG4 and RTE all broadcasting live action this season. It makes for another enthralling campaign and I would like to extend my best wishes to the management, players and fans who are the heartbeat of this great competition.”
Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael, Larry McCarthy said: “The start of the Allianz Football League will be warmly welcomed by all GAA supporters as the 2021 campaign swings into action. Incredibly this is Allianz’s 29th year supporting these competitions which have grown from strength to strength over the years. I wish all of our competing teams well in what will be an action packed few weeks and I’d like to acknowledge the ongoing support of Allianz in helping us to bring these games to the widest audience possible."
Kerry, the reigning Division 1 champions, begin their title defence at home to Galway, who finished third on the eight-team table in 2020. Kerry beat Galway by a point last year. Dublin (second last season) travel to take on Roscommon, who were promoted at the end of last year’s campaign.
Division 1 North is an all-Ulster affair where one of the big interest points will be on how Tyrone fare under new management, following the appointment of Feargal Logan and Brian Dooher to replace Mickey Harte, who was in charge since late 2002. Harte switches to Louth and will begin his new challenge with a home game against Antrim.
Mayo and Meath, both of whom were relegated from Division 1 last year, are in the Division 2 North group. It will be Mayo’s first time in Division 2 for 24 years, having being relegated last year after taking only five of 14 points. Meath, who were back in the Division 1 for the first time in 14 years, fared even worse, taking only one point.
The first-round fixtures are as follows:
Division 1 South: Kerry v Galway, Tralee, 3.0;
Division 1 North: Tyrone v Donegal, Omagh, 5.0
Division 2 South: Cork v Kildare, Semple Stadium, 3.30
Division 2 North: Mayo v Down, Elverys MacHale Park, 2.0
Division 3 South: Limerick v Tipperary, LIT Gaelic Grounds, 5.0
Division 3 North: Longford v Derry, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, 5.0; Fermanagh v Cavan, Brewster Park, 7.0
Division 4 South: Waterford v Carlow, Fraher Field, 7.0
Division 4 North: Louth v Antrim, Geraldines GFC, Dundalk, 3.0
Division 1 North: Roscommon v Dublin, Dr.Hyde Park, 1.45; Monaghan v Tyrone, Brewster Park, 3.0
Division 2 North: Meath v Westmeath, Pairc Tailteann, 3.45
Division 2 South: Clare v Laois, Ennis, 3.45
Division 3 South: Wicklow v Offaly, Aughrim, 2.0
Division 4 North: Sligo v Leitrim, Markievicz Park, 3.0
The make-up of the four divisions is as follows:
DIVISION ONE NORTH: Armagh, Donegal, Monaghan, Tyrone.
DIVISION ONE SOUTH: Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Roscommon
DIVISION TWO NORTH: Down, Mayo, Meath, Westmeath.
DIVISION TWO SOUTH: Clare, Cork, Kildare, Laois.
DIVISION THREE NORTH: Cavan, Derry, Fermanagh, Longford.
DIVISION THREE SOUTH: Limerick, Offaly, Tipperary, Wicklow.
DIVISION FOUR NORTH: Antrim, Leitrim, Louth, Sligo,
DIVISION THREE SOUTH: Carlow, Waterford, Wexford
(London are not competing in Division 4 this year due to Covid travel restrictions)