This weekend the GAA’s Central Board will be asked to consider a request to increase the four soccer league finals due to time pressure from the expanded tournament program.
Guaranteed two weeks between the last Football League matches last weekend in March and the start of the Regional Football Championship on the second weekend in April, the Central Competition Control Committee (CCCC) communicated its request in a note to the upcoming counties from Saturday’s meeting.
The possibility of canceling the League Finals to find more space on the calendar was brought up last month by Connacht Secretary John Prente. However, the League Throwing Finals will remain on the schedule temporarily on April 1/2 as the Monster and Leinster Round Throwing Championships do not start for another three weeks, April 22 and 23.
If the League Finals are retained, it is possible that some of the finalists will play a provincial championship match a week later if they take part in the preliminary matches in Leinster, Ulster or Connacht.
The CCCC will again request a deviation from rule 6.31 to allow the All Ireland Football Final to be played on the 31st weekend of the year, not the 30th weekend as the rule states.
This will extend the tournament for a week, with the final match scheduled for Sunday, July 30, according to the proposed draft.
If the Central Board approves the proposals, the new format for the soccer tournament will see the Sam Maguire Cup and Tailton quarter-final playoffs played over three weekends, beginning with the last second weekend of May 18/19 for teams not participating in the District Finals.
Participants in the Regional Football Finals will play their first qualifying matches a week later, with Round Two taking place a week later for all teams on 3/4 June.
A two-week break will follow before the third round of quarter-final matches is played with the second and third place qualifiers on June 24 and 25.
The All-Ireland Football Quarter-Final has been provisionally set for the first weekend of July 1/2.
The regional football finals are scheduled for two weeks in early May, the Connacht-Münster final on May 6-7 and the Leinster-Ulster final on May 13-14, two weeks earlier this year. This gives counties six weeks to complete their programs, with a start date set for April 8/9.
In ejaculation there are some important changes as well. The Munster and Leinster throwing finals will take place on the same Sunday afternoon, 10/11 June, and the bill for the Leinster Final will likely be presented in the late afternoon for this year.
This was the result of the Joe McDonagh Cup final, now traditionally played as the unveiling of the hurling final in Leinster.
But since the game requires a live stream, it will conflict with the Monster toss final.
So the McDonagh Cup final has now been provisionally set for 27 and 28 May, as a possible addition to the All Ireland Under-20 Championship final. The U-20 final used to be played at Thurles but under that arrangement, Croke Park would be the most likely venue.
The other consequence is that the McDonagh Cup finalists will then have a three-week break until they play a preliminary McDonagh Cup quarter-final, not the week previously awarded. McDonagh Cup teams have been consulted on the matter and the proposed arrangement will be on a trial basis.
There may also be changes to the League Championship schedule, with a three-week break after the first three rounds to avoid clashes with the Fitzgibbon Cup final, planned for February 18/19, and Congress on February 25/26.
In their notes to the counties requesting discussion prior to the weekend meeting, the CCCC acknowledges that this is “not ideal” and requests that Congress be submitted one week in advance “to reduce the number of games played on the weekends of the annual convention, and to ensure that rounds are evenly distributed in the Allianz League.” Hurling”.
Inter-provincial teams will be allowed to return to group training on November 24, if the draft plan is approved on Saturday, with an induction meeting/day allowed before that. This would allow for a nine-week pre-season before tournaments starting at the end of the last week of January, although it was agreed, in consultation with the Gaelic Players Association, to suspend training from December 23 to 27 inclusive and again in December. 31. Only Challenge matches are allowed from January 1 onwards.