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2021 GAA calendar released with first inter-county games set for May

Room for the National Leagues as the GAA announce 2021 calendar.

The 2021 GAA calendar was released on Thursday with the first inter-county games set for the weekend of May 8/9. All details of the revised updated calendar were given by the GAA at a virtual meeting.

The return to collective inter-county training will commence on April 19 despite a couple of recent Covid-19 training breaches from Dublin and Monaghan.



In football, the National Leagues will run from May 15/16 to potential League finals on the weekend of June 19/20.

Divisions will be split into North and South as announced in December. This means that there will be four teams in each group based on geography with each county getting a minimum of three league games.

After the round-robin games, the top two in each group will qualify for their respective league semi-finals with the final taking place as long as the counties involved don’t have a championship match the following weekend.

The bottom two in each group face a relegation semi-final with the two losers relegated.

The 2021 Sam Maguire will now be a straight provincial knock-out style competition, the same as 2020. There will be no back-door qualifiers and both New York and London will not participate due to travel restrictions.

The All-Ireland Football Championship final will take place on the weekend of 28-29 August.

gaa calendar


In hurling, each county will be guaranteed five league games with Division 1 and 2 set to commence on the weekend of May 8/9, which is a week earlier than the football.

There will be no knockout stages to conclude this year’s National League. Instead, there will be joint winners or if teams that win in Division 1A and 1B meet in the championship that game will double as a League final.

The Division 1 hurling league relegation play-off will act as a curtain raiser to the All-Ireland senior semi-final in August.

In Divisions 2 and 3 there will be no finals with the top team promoted and the bottom relegated.


The 2021 Liam MacCarthy Cup will be a provincial knock-out championship followed by a qualifier system. Again this is the same as the 2020 format.

There will be 11 teams in Liam MacCarthy in 2021. Munster – Limerick, Waterford, Tipperary, Clare, Cork and Leinster – Kilkenny, Galway, Wexford, Dublin, Laois, Antrim.

There will be a preliminary round in the qualifiers between the two defeated quarter-final teams in Leinster.

The winners will progress to Round 1 of the Qualifiers while the loser will be relegated to the Joe McDonagh Cup for the 2022 season.

The Joe McDonagh Cup final will act as the curtain raiser to the Leinster hurling final.

The All-Ireland Hurling Championship final will be played on the weekend of 21-22 August.

You can view the full calendar here.

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