The All-Ireland’s, which can be compared to the equivalent of America’s Super Bowl, is a massive competition in Gaelic football (One of the national sports of Ireland.) and organized by the GAA-or Gaelic Athletic Association.
Every summer and early autumn, teams from the 32 counties of Ireland make a run for the championship in hopes to win bragging rights, the title, and the Sam Maguire Cup (Named after an influential figure in the London GAA and a famous footballer.)
Typically, the All-Ireland Football Championship Final is played on the third or fourth Sunday in September at the famous Croke Park in Dublin. This year, on September 23rd, the green and gold of Donegal will face off against the green and the red of Mayo. It should be a good match. Do any of our Tenon friends want to place a wager?
So, in order to get to the Football Championship, each of the 32 counties (Including London and New York-GO USA! Both play in the Leinster Province.) play in their respective Provincial Championships in Connaught, Leinster, Munster, and Ulster. The Provincial Championships operate through a knock-out cup competition format, which takes place during the months of May, June, and July. The winners of each of the four Provincial Championships earn one of eight places in the All-Ireland Series, which takes place in the months of August and September.
(Our partner company, the Irish Life Experience, was lucky enough to witness the Leinster Semi-Finals of Dublin vs. Wexford this past summer. It was a great game, and the summer study abroad program was fortunate enough to see the DUBS/Boys in Blue beat Wexford!)
The twenty-eight teams that fail to win their respective Provincial Championships receive a second opportunity to reach the All-Ireland Series via the All Ireland Qualifiers through the back door. The qualifiers series takes place in the months of June and July and operates as follows:
All teams that fail to reach the Semi-Finals of their respective Provincial Championships (16 in total) compete in round one. An open draw system is used to divide the teams into eight individual match-ups. The winning eight teams progress to Round 2, while the losing eight teams are eliminated from the All Ireland Championship.
Each of the eight winning teams of Round 1 are drawn against the eight losing teams from the Semi-Finals of the four Provincial Championships. The winning eight teams progress to Round 3, while the losing eight teams are eliminated from the All Ireland Championship.
The eight winning teams from Round 2 are divided into four individual match-ups. An open draw is made to determine the four pairings. The winning four teams progress to Round 4, while the losing four teams are eliminated from the All-Ireland Championship.
Each of the four winning teams of Round 3 are drawn against the four losing teams from the finals of the four Provincial Championships. The winning four teams proceed to the All-Ireland Series, joining the four Provincial Champions, while the losing four teams are eliminated from the All-Ireland Championship.
The All-Ireland Series-All-Ireland Quarter Finals
: The four Provincial Champions are drawn against the winning four teams from Round 4 of the All-Ireland Qualifiers. The four winning teams qualify for the All-Ireland Semi-Finals.
The All-Ireland Series-All-Ireland Semi Finals
: The winning four teams from the All-Ireland Quarter Finals play-off. The two winning teams qualify for the All-Ireland Final.
The All-Ireland Series-All-Ireland Final:
The two remaining teams meet in the All-Ireland Final on the third or fourth Sunday in September and the winning team is crowned All-Ireland Champions.
So, for those of our
Singles Tour to Ireland travelers arriving on September 23rd, be sure to check out the match at Croke Park or on RTE and cheer for your favorite team. I know who Bryan Lewis is going to be cheering for, since his roots are from the “Hills’ County” (Donegal). I don’t know about you, but I still wish Dublin was playing. (UP THE DUBS!) In the meantime, I’m betting $50 on Mayo. Any takers? Bryan Lewis???
Hopefully, you have learned a little about this popular series and might consider taking one of the Ireland tours with Tenon Tours or to be a part of The Gathering 2013 in Ireland to watch these spectacular matches, including experiencing a once in a lifetime opportunity at the All-Ireland’s for 2013. Start planning now!