The GAA has announced proposals for major changes to the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, which includes adding a group stage to a condensed competition, aiding the Club Championship. 

It will also see the All-Ireland hurling final played in August.

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GAA Director General Páraic Duffy announced the changes today in a document which would leave the Provincial Championships unchanged but radically shake up the format of the All-Ireland Championship.

The proposal would add eight extra games to the All-Ireland, with the GAA hoping to off-set this by removing the semi-finals from the Allianz League.

But the biggest change to the format of the Championship would be the introduction of a much mooted group stage. 

The proposal seeks to replace the quarter-final stage of the Championship with a round-robin contested by the four provincial champions and the four round 4 qualifier winners. 

There would be two groups of four teams where each team would play one game at home, one game away from home and one game at Croke Park. 

The teams that finish in the top two positions in each group qualify for the semi-finals, where extra-time will be played if necessary. 

"A significant proportion of this increase should be ring-fenced for development in our less successful counties"

Under the proposals, the All-Ireland Senior Hurling final would be moved forward by two weeks, into August, with the football semi-finals a week later and the final being held on the third Sunday of September.

A statement from the GAA claimed that the proposals would lead to a more dramatic Championship than the current one offers and would theoretically end situations where teams, like Kerry this year, beat two teams from the same province to reach the semi-final stage.

The statement read: "The new structure would provide a more exacting pathway to the All-Ireland final: the finalists will have had to compete with three of the best teams in the country at the group stage, followed by a semi-final with a top-four team that came through the same test.

"This will have the effect of ensuring that the finalists will have been equally tested and that the two best teams in the country contest the All-Ireland final."

"Both All-Ireland semi-finals would be played over the one weekend which should generate greater excitement and also ensure both teams have the same period of time to prepare for the All-Ireland final."

The GAA also sought to assure smaller counties that they will not be hindered by missing out on the group stages and insisted that extra revenue would be ring-fenced to aid their development.

The document claimed that: "The new structure should increase commercial and broadcast income from the All-Ireland senior football championship. A significant proportion of this increase should be ring-fenced for development in our less successful counties."

The proposal will go before the GAA's congress in February. 

GAA All-Ireland Senior Football Structure Proposal:

PROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: Knock-out format as at present.


Round 1: Sixteen teams that do not qualify for provincial semi-finals

Round 2: Eight round 1 winners play eight defeated provincial semi-finalists

Round 3: Eight round 2 winners play each other on an open-draw basis

Round 4: Four round 3 winners play four provincial runners-up

Proposal 1:

(i) A Division 3 or 4 team drawn against a Division 1 or 2 team in rounds one, two or three of the qualifiers will be granted an automatic home-venue advantage.

(ii) The format of ‘A’ and ‘B’ sides to the qualifier draw will be ended.


Proposal 2:

The current quarter-final stage of the championship to be replaced by a Group Stage, contested by the four provincial champions and the four round 4 qualifier winners.

The group stage will be organised on a league basis with two groups of four teams, with each team playing the other three teams once.

After the group stage is completed the top two teams in each group will progress to the All-Ireland semi-final with the Group 1 winner playing the Group 2 runner-up and the Group 2 winner playing the Group 1 runner-up

Order of fixtures in both groups

Round 1

Team 1 v Team 2. Croke Park

Team 3 v Team 4. Croke Park

Round 2

Team 1 v Team 3 or 4. Home advantage for provincial champions.

Team 2 V Team 3 or 4. Home advantage for provincial champions.

Round 3

Team 1 v Team 3 or 4. Home advantage for Team 3 or 4.

Team 2 v Team 3 or 4. Home advantage for Team 3 or 4.


Home venues shall be subject to approval by the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) andshall meet the criteria set down by the National Facilities/Health and Safety Committee. CCCC shallmake the draws for Rounds 2 and 3.

The above fixtures format for the group stage means that each team will have one game in Croke Park,one home game and one away game.

Tie-breakers in the event of teams finishing level on points (in order of application):

(i) Result of game between two tied teams (only where two teams are level on points)

(ii) Score difference

(iii) Highest score for

(iv) Goals scored

(v) Play-off match


Group 1 winner v Group 2 runner-up

Group 2 winner v Group 1 runner-up

(to be played over one weekend)