• Home
  • /
  • GAA
  • /
  • Pat Spillane Launches Stinging Attack On GAA Calendar For 2023

Pat Spillane Launches Stinging Attack On GAA Calendar For 2023

Pat Spillane Launches Stinging Attack On GAA Calendar For 2023
Gary Connaughton
By Gary Connaughton
Share this article

This year will see the biggest change to the Gaelic football championship structures in quite some time. After the introduction of the Tailteann Cup last year, this summer will see a new dimension added to the All-Ireland series at both levels.

Both tournaments will be split into round robins at the end of the provincial championships, with four groups of four taking part in each competition.

Every county will play three games, with the top side in each group advancing to the quarter-finals. The second and third placed teams will face off in a preliminary quarter-final, meaning only four of 16 counties will be eliminated at the end of the round robin.

This change will ensure more games for many counties, especially those who tended to suffer early provincial and qualifier exits in the past.

Of course, this will also put some added pressure on the schedule.


Between now and July 30th, the date of the All-Ireland football final, there will only be five weekends where no inter-county action is played in that code. Teams will be guaranteed to take part in at least 11 games during that period and are likely to play in more unless they are eliminated at the first hurdle in both the provincial and All-Ireland series.

Pat Spillane criticises GAA for 2023 calendar

Pat Spillane certainly isn't a fan of the 2023 GAA calendar.


Writing in his column in the Sunday World, he criticised the amount of games teams were expected to play over a relatively short timeframe this year. He also questioned the point of playing a round robin, only to then eliminate just one team from each group at its conclusion.

In 27 weeks’ time, the All-Ireland Football Final will be played on July 30th.

Between now and then, there are 22 football weekends plus the Sigerson Cup Final, which has a weekend to itself. So that’s 23 out of 27 weekends of action, leaving four in which I’ll have no football to discuss. It’s madness.

Including the League Finals, there are eight Allianz League matches for counties in the next ten weeks.

Spare a thought for Leitrim and Sligo. If either, or both of them, get to the Division Four League Final, they will be playing it a few days before heading to New York and London, respectively, for Championship action.

And remember this is the ‘soft’ side of the draw in Connacht, where one of Sligo, Leitrim, London or New York will get a golden ticket into the new structure to play for the Sam Maguire Cup.

Because of the round robins later in the summer, we have 33 extra matches to be played this year, with the GAA allocating one extra week to the calendar.

Those round robins only get rid of four teams from the championship – more madness.

Meanwhile, 17 of the 32 teams playing in the NFL are scheduled to play championship the weekend after the league deciders.

Can I remind you of last year, when neither Mayo nor Galway ‘tried a leg’ in the division one and two league finals, because they had a big championship match coming up...

You might gather that I am not hopeful for the year ahead. The omens are not great, fingers crossed things get better.

Pat Spillane has been a vocal critic of the GAA calendar over the last couple of years, especially when it comes to issues such as the split season.


While his points on that particular matter have not made a huge amount of sense, he is right to question about a round robin format that is likely to result in a number of dead rubber games throughout the summer.

It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

SEE ALSO: Rob Hennelly Set To Become Latest Inter-County Star To Complete Club Transfer

Rob Hennelly



Join The Monday Club Have a tip or something brilliant you wanted to share on? We're looking for loyal Balls readers free-to-join members club where top tipsters can win prizes and Balls merchandise

Processing your request...

You are now subscribed!

Share this article

Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved. Developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com