All-Ireland Senior Football Championship


All-Ireland Senior Football Championship

infobox football tournament
current = All-Ireland Senior Football Championship 2008

founded = 1887
region = Ireland (GAA)
number of teams = 33
current champions = Tyrone (3rd time)

The All-Ireland Senior Football Championship is the premier "knockout" competition in the game of Gaelic football played in Ireland. The series of games are organized by the Gaelic Athletic Association and are played during the summer months with the All-Ireland Football Final being played on the third or fourth Sunday in September in Croke Park, Dublin. The prize for the winning team is the Sam Maguire Cup. The competition is currently sponsored jointly by Ulster Bank, Toyota and Vodafone.

Every county in Ireland participates in the Championship (except Kilkenny) so the competition is much more open than the Hurling Championship. Kerry and Dublin are among the most successful football teams. Tyrone are the 2008 All-Ireland Senior Football Champions having defeated Kerry in the final.

Format

Current format

The county is a geographical region in Ireland, and each of the thirty-two counties in Ireland organises its own GAA affairs through a County Board. The county teams play in their respective Provincial Championships in Munster, Leinster, Connacht (including London and New York), and Ulster. If successful the county team will go on to play in the All-Ireland series. The football championship qualifying structure (for teams that have been knocked out of their respective provincial championships - The winning team of the respective provincial championship do not take part of the Qualifiers or "Back Door") that was used from 2001 to 2006 worked as follows:

*Round 1 : This Round shall include all the counties that do not qualify for the Provincial -Finals from division 3 or above of the NFL. An Open Draw shall be made to give eight pairings. The division 4 losers enter the Tommy Murphy Cup
*Round 2 : Each of the eight winning teams of round 1 shall play against each other. A draw shall be made to determine the four pairings.
*Round 3 : Each of the four teams defeated in the Provincial Finals shall play against the four winners from Round 2. A draw shall be made to determine the four pairings.
*All Ireland Quarter-Finals : Each of the four Provincial Champions shall play one of the four winners from Round 3. A draw shall be made to determine the four pairings. [http://www.gaa.ie/plugins/newsfeed.cgi?rm=content&plugin_data_id=15367]

Historic format

For the first All-Ireland championship in 1887, the competition was played on an open draw knockout basis. From 1888, the provincial system was introduced, whereby the counties in each of Ireland's four provinces would play each other on a knockout basis to find provincial champions. These four champions would meet in the All-Ireland semi-finals. The structure outlined above (altered for 2007 onwards) was adopted in 2001 to allow more games to be played but still retain provincial championships and the knockout structure.

Past winners

The following table sets out the winning team and beaten finalist of each All-Ireland Senior Football Championship final. The vast majority of finals were contested by the winning semi-finalists, although in certain cases in the early years a provincial championship had not been completed in time and the affected province nominated a team to participate in the All-Ireland semi-final. In some of "these" cases, the nominated team (e.g. Dublin in 1905) won its semi-final, but was then vanquished in their provincial championship, and their place in the All-Ireland final taken by another team from that province.

The following counties have never won an All Ireland:

External links

* [http://www.gaa.ie Gaa.ie]
* [http://www.gaainfo.com/comp.php?co=intercounty&year=2008&comp=sfc All-Ireland Results]


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