Preview and Fixtures – Leinster, Munster, Ulster & Connacht Football

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For the first time in 20 years, the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship will be a knockout tournament with all games to be finalised on the day, going to penalties if necessary. The first of the provincial games kick off on the weekend of October 31st and November 1st. The current fixture list for each Provincial Championship game as well as the All-Ireland Football Championship semi-final and final games is listed below.

 

Connacht

Quarter-Finals (Oct 31st/Nov 1st)

Mayo vs Leitrim

*Roscommon vs London cancelled due to Covid-19 travel restrictions meaning Roscommon progress directly to the semi-finals.

Semi-Finals (Nov 7th/8th)

Sligo vs Galway

Mayo/Leitrim vs Roscommon

Final (Nov 14th/15th)

Semi-Final Winner 1 vs Semi-Final Winner 2

 

Munster football fixtures

Quarter-Finals (Oct 31st/Nov 1st)

Waterford vs Limerick

Tipperary vs Clare

Semi-Finals (Nov 7th/8th)

Cork vs Kerry

Waterford/Limerick vs Clare/Tipperary

Final (Nov 22nd)

Semi-Final Winner 1 vs Semi-Final Winner 2

 

Leinster football fixtures

Round 1 (Oct 31st/Nov 1st)

Louth vs Longford

Wexford vs Wicklow

Carlow vs Offaly

Quarter-Finals (Nov 7th/8th)

Laois vs Louth/Longford

Meath vs Wexford/Wicklow

Kildare vs Carlow/Offaly

Westmeath vs Dublin

Semi-Finals (Nov 14th/15th)

Quarter-Final Winner vs Quarter-Final Winner

Quarter-Final Winner vs Quarter-Final Winner

Final (Nov 21st/22nd)

Semi-Final Winner 1 vs Semi-Final Winner 2

 

Ulster football fixtures

Preliminary Round (Oct 31s)

Monaghan vs Cavan

Quarter-Finals

Donegal vs Tyrone (Nov 1st)

Derry vs Armagh (Nov 1st)

Monaghan/Cavan vs Antrim (Nov 7th)

Fermanagh vs Down (Nov 8th)

Semi-Finals

Donegal/Tyrone vs Derry/Armagh (Nov 14th)

Fermanagh/Down vs Monaghan/Cavan/Antrim (Nov 15th)

Final (Nov 22nd)

Semi-Final Winner 1 vs Semi-Final Winner 2

 

All-Ireland Championship fixtures

Semi-Finals (Dec 5th/6th)

Leinster Champions vs Ulster Champions

Connacht Champions vs Munster Champions

Final (Dec 19th)

Semi-Final Winner 1 vs Semi-Final Winner 2

 

Preview

Leinster

As we enter the 2020 Football Championship season in these unprecedented times, the goal will not change for the Dublin football team as they will be looking to make it six All-Ireland’s in a row after narrowly beating Kerry to the title last year.

Dublin will be strong favourites to retain the Championship this year and kick off their campaign against Westmeath in the Leinster provincial quarter-final clash. The last time Dublin faced Westmeath in an All-Ireland game was back in 2017 in the Leinster semi-final when they ran out convincing winners, winning the game by an astonishing 31 points.

Dublin have strolled through recent provincial championship campaigns scoring a plethora of points along the way, and the same is to be expected this season.

Ulster

The strongest challenge Dublin have faced on their route to the final in the last two championships has come in the form of Tyrone who suffered a narrow defeat at the hands of Dublin in the group stage of the 2018 championship and followed this up the following year with another loss in 2019.

The 2017 Ulster champions Tyrone will be hoping for a superior performance this season, however they must overcome current Ulster champions Donegal if they wish to progress beyond the provincial stage.

With a change of format to the championship this year, there will be no quarter-final group stage before the commencement of the semi-finals. This means only one team from each province will progress onto the semi-finals in a knockout-style tournament.

The Ulster champions will meet the Leinster champions in the first of the semi-finals.

Munster

Kerry, who came so close to clinching the 2019 championship after taking Dublin to a replay, will be strongly tipped to reach the final again this year.

For the last three years, Kerry and Cork have come up against each other in the Munster football final with Kerry defeating their rivals on all three occasions. This season will bring about a different final as Cork and Kerry will meet in the semi-final.

Kerry must face the challenge of Cork first and then potentially Clare, Tipperary, Waterford or Limerick in the Munster final. Tipperary were the last of these teams to reach the provincial final, but ultimately suffered defeat at the hands of Kerry in 2016. An upset this year isn’t likely, but teams like Tipperary and Clare will intend to prosper in their role as underdogs.

Connacht

The second semi-final clash will be contested between the Munster champions and the Connacht champions. The last team from the west to get their hands on the Sam Maguire Cup was Galway almost 20 years ago. Galway enjoyed a good run of form this year before the Allianz Football League was postponed, perched at the top of Division 1 after winning four out of their five matches. Mayo on the other hand have only won one league game this season but came very close in the 2016 and 2017 All-Ireland finals, losing by a point both times to Dublin.

Reigning champions Roscommon, along with their rivals Mayo and Galway, will be aiming to break this duck. Mayo have not won the Connacht Championship since 2015, but have managed to pave an alternative route to the semi-final and final stages in recent campaigns. However, their provincial form will have to improve with the new format that is in place.

Prediction

If Kerry can overcome the early challenge of Cork, they have a clear path to the final and a much anticipated rematch against Dublin. Providing they perform well at provincial level, Donegal may prove to be the biggest obstacle for Dublin in their journey to the 2020 All-Ireland final. A closely contested Allianz Football League fixture between the two teams back in February, which was decided by a single point, would give Donegal confidence if they were to face the All-Ireland champions again.

Nonetheless, although a surprise result or two along the way might be expected under the new format, it is hard not to envisage a repeat of the 2019 All-Ireland final. The 2020 All-Ireland final is set to take place on December 19th.

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