CARLOW’S hurlers and footballers will begin their bids for promotion on the last weekend of February after the GAA confirmed the structure of their calendar yesterday.
It’s a dramatic break from the norm with the season split into two sections, for inter-county and then club. The Senior All-Ireland hurling final will be played on the weekend of the 10/11 July, while the Joe McDonagh final will be played on the weekend of 22/23 May.
The Senior All-Ireland football final will be played on the weekend of 17/18 July and the new Tailteann Cup, which Carlow will be in after they are beaten in the Leinster Championship unless they reach the final, will be played on the weekend of 26/27 June in Croke Park as a curtain raiser to the All-Ireland Hurling semi-final.
Division 2 of the Allianz Hurling League will retain the same format and the top two teams from Carlow, Kerry, Wicklow, Down, Meath and Offaly will contest the final on 10/11 April with the winner promoted.
There are, however, significant changes to the structure of the football leagues, with the four divisions split on a regional basis. Carlow will compete in Division 4 South, along with Wexford, Waterford and London. Provisions have made to run the league either with or without London depending on the Covid restrictions at the time. Leitrim, Louth, Antrim and Sligo have been placed in Division 4 North. The top two teams in each group progress to the semi-finals, with the winners of both games promoted and they will then meet in the League final on 3/4 April.
The Under 20 Football and Hurling Championships will be run on a knockout basis. The Football Championship will be run from 27/28 March to a final on 1/2 May. The Hurling Championship runs from 22/23 May to a final on 10/11 July.
Minor Football and Hurling Championships will run from 20/21 March to 22/23 May and there will be proposals brought forward from the development C.C.C.C. as to what structure they should take.
Once the inter-county season is finished, attention will turn to the club season. Competitions, mainly without county players, can take place in the spring and early summer months if Covid restrictions allow for it. There will be an uninterrupted Club Championship window from 24/25 July to 23/24 October, with the Provincial Championships running from 16/17 October to 27/28 November. All-Ireland club semi-finals will be played in December with the finals played in January 2222.
One major headache for Carlow, and they won’t be the only county affected, is what to do with the outstanding 2021 Championships. County teams will be permitted to return to training from 15 January which will make the running of the outstanding games before the intercounty season very difficult.