Will Donegal take a step closer to an Ulster title? Can Dublin go where only three other teams have gone this year by winning the GAA Football All-Ireland senior title for a fourth successive year? These are two of the questions this weekend as championship football in the sun really kicks-off.

Wexford (1915-18), Kerry (1929-32 and (1978-81) are the only counties to have won the four-in-a-row and now it’s Dublin’s turn to try to join them in the exclusive club.

It’s a very busy weekend across all four provinces with no fewer than eight football games on the pro-gramme: four quarter-finals in Leinster, two quarter-finals in Ulster and one semi-final in both Connacht and Munster. The line-up is as follows;


Leinster quarter-final: Laois v Westmeath, Bord na Mona, O’Connor Park, 5.00pm

Connacht semi-final: Leitrim v Roscommon, Carrick-on-Shannon, 5.30pm

Ulster quarter-final: Down v Antrim, Pairc Esler, Newry, 7.00pm

Munster semi-final: Tipperary v Cork, Semple Stadium, 7.00pm


Leinster quarter-finals

Carlow v Kildare, Bord na Mona O’Connor Park, 2.00pm

Longford v Meath, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, 3.00pm

Dublin v Wicklow, O’Moore Park 4.00pm

Ulster quarter-final

Derry v Donegal, Celtic Park, 4.00pm


They meet for the first time in three years, with Donegal having won the Ulster semi-final in 2015. It was their fifth successive championship win over Derry, leaving the Oak Leaf county seeking their first win over their neighbours since 2008.


2015: Donegal 1-9 Derry 0-10 (Ulster semi-final)

2014: Donegal 1-11 Derry 0-11 (Ulster quarter-final)

2012: Donegal 2-13 Derry 0-9 (Ulster quarter-final)

2011: Donegal 1-11 Derry 0-8 (Ulster final)

2009: Donegal 2-13 Derry 0-18 aet (Qualifiers)

Derry have failed to score a goal against Donegal in their last five championship clashes. Donegal have scored a goal or more in all five games.

Donegal have a win behind them in this year’s championship, beating Cavan by 2-20 to 1-15 in the prelim-inary round in a game where Michael Murphy on 0-6 (0-3 frees) and Paddy McBrearty on 0-4 scored 0-10 between them. Derry, who were relegated from Division 3 this year, are having their first championship outing.

Both counties are under new management this year – Declan Bonner (Donegal), Damien McErlain (Derry).

The winners will play Down or Antrim in the Ulster semi-final on June 10.


They meet for the first time since 2011 when Down won an All-Ireland qualifier game. Antrim last beat Down in the championship in the 2000 Ulster quarter-final.


2011: Down 3-13 Antrim (All-Ireland qualifiers)

2000: Antrim 0-13 Down 1-7 (Ulster quarter-final)

1999: Down 1-15 Antrim 0-14 (Ulster quarter-final)

1976: Down 0-14 Antrim 2-6 (Ulster quarter-final)

1975: Down 3-12 Antrim 0-7 (Ulster quarter-final)

Eamonn Burns is in his third year as Down manager, while Lenny Harbison is in his first year with Antrim.

Down were relegated from Division 2 after winning three and losing four of seven games. Antrim finished third in Division 4, having won four, lost one and drawn one of their six games.

Antrim are seeking their first win in the Ulster championship since beating Fermanagh in 2014.

The winners will play Derry or Donegal in the Ulster semi-final on June 10.


They meet in the championship for the first time since 1990 when Dublin won a Leinster semi-final by eight points in Newbridge. They last met in the Allianz League in 1991 when Dublin won a quarter-final meeting by 2-10 to 0-11 in Croke Park.


1990: Dublin 2-14 Wicklow 0-12 (Leinster semi-final)

1989: Dublin 1-12 Wicklow 1-6 (Leinster semi-final)

1987: Dublin 2-18 Wicklow 0-6 (Leinster semi-final)

1981: Dublin 0-10 Wicklow 0-8 (Leinster quarter-final)

1979: Dublin 3-13 Wicklow 2-7 (Leinster semi-final)

Wicklow have never beaten Dublin in 30 Championship and League meetings. It’s 12-0 to Dublin in the championship and 18-0 in the League.

Jim Gavin is his sixth season as Dublin manager, leading them to Leinster titles in 2013-2014-2015-2016-2017 and to the 2013-2015-2016-2017 All-Ireland titles. Dublin’s championship record under Gavin reads: Played 31; Won 28, Drew 2, Lost 1. The only defeat was against Donegal in the 2014 All-Ireland semi-final. Their last defeat in the Leinster championship was against Meath in the 2010 semi-final when they lost by 5-9 to 0-13.

John Evans is in his first season as Wicklow boss, having previously managed Tipperary and Roscommon.

There were 30 places between Dublin and Wicklow in this year’s Allianz League. Dublin finished second in the Division 1 table (they beat Galway in the final). Wicklow finished bottom of Division 4.

Dublin are having their first championship game of the season while Wicklow have a win behind them, beating Offaly in the Leinster first round (1-20 to 1-15 after extra-time).

Dublin have not lost a Leinster quarter-final since going down to Westmeath in 2004.

The winners will play Meath or Longford in the Leinster semi-final on June 10.


They meet in the championship for the first time in 23 years, the last meeting being in 1995 when Meath won a Leinster quarter-final tie by 17 points. Longford last beat Meath in the Leinster championship in 1982.


1995: Meath 4-15 Longford 0-10 (Leinster quarter-final)

1990: Meath 3-15 Longford 0-12 (Leinster quarter-final)

1982: Longford 0-12 Meath 0-11 (Leinster first round)

1972: Meath 0-16 Longford 1-9 (Leinster quarter-final)

1968: Longford 0-12 Meath 0-7 (Leinster semi-final)

Both are having their first outing in the championship. Meath finished fifth in Division 2 of the Allianz League, winning three, losing three and drawing one of their seven games.

Longford missed out on promotion to Division 2 after losing their final Division 3 game to Fermanagh by a point. They finished third behind Armagh and Fermanagh, winning four, losing two and drawing one of sev-en games.

The last time Meath lost their first outing in the Leinster championship was in 2011 when they went down to Kildare.

Longford lost to Laois in their first outing last year and to Offaly the year before, leaving them seeking their first win in Leinster championship since 2015.

Denis Connerton is in his third season as Longford manager while Andy McEntee is in his second season at the Meath helm. The winners will play Dublin or Wicklow in the Leinster semi-final on June 10


They may be neighbours but championship meetings between them have been pretty rare. In fact, they haven’t met since the 2001 Leinster quarter-final when Kildare won by five points. They have only met twice in the last 50 years.


2001: Kildare 0-19 Carlow 1-11 (Leinster quarter-final)

1980: Kildare 2-17 Carlow 2-11 (Leinster first round)

1965: Kildare 4-10 Carlow 2-9 (Leinster quarter-finals)

1954: Kildare 1-7 Carlow 1-6 (Leinster 1st round) Second replay

1954: Kildare 2-6 Carlow 1-9 (Leinster 1st round) First replay

Carlow last beat Kildare in the championship in the 1953 Leinster first round.

Turlough O’Brien (Carlow) is in his fourth season as Carlow manager while Cian O’Neill is in charge of Kil-dare for a third successive season.

Carlow beat Louth by 2-17 to 0-12 in the Leinster first round, while Kildare, who were relegated from Divi-sion 1 after losing all seven games, are having their first championship outing of the year.

Kildare have reached the Leinster semi-final every year since 2010 when they lost to Louth in the quarter-final.

Carlow are attempting to reach the Leinster semi-final for the first time since 2011.

The winners will play Laois or Westmeath in the Leinster semi-final on June 10.


They meet in the Leinster championship for the first time since the 2004 final when Westmeath, managed by Páidí Ó Sé, won a replay and created history by taking the title for the first time.

Laois, managed by Mick O’Dwyer, were defending champions, having won the title for the first time since 1946 in 2003.


2004: Westmeath 0-12 Laois 0-10 (Leinster final replay)

2004: Laois 0-13 Westmeath 0-13 (Leinster final - draw)

2000: Westmeath 1-12 Laois 0-11 (Leinster quarter-final)

1999: Laois 1-16 Westmeath 1-8 (Leinster quarter-final)

1998: Laois 1-15 Westmeath 0-15 (Leinster quarter-final)

This will be the 16th championship meeting between the counties, with Laois having won eight to six for Laois while there was one draw from the previous 15 meetings.

Laois have had one outing already, beating Wexford in extra time (2-21 to 1-18) in the first round. They earlier won the Division 4 title. Westmeath, who finished fourth in Division 3 (four wins, three defeats) are having their first outing.

The last time Westmeath lost their opening game in Leinster was in 2014 when they went down to West-meath. Both counties are under new management this year: John Sugrue (Laois), Colin Kelly (Louth). The winners will play Carlow or Kildare in the Leinster semi-final on June 10.


They meet for a third successive season, with Roscommon having won by 17 points last year and by 13 points in 2016. Roscommon, the defending Connacht champions, are having their first outing in this year’s campaign while Leitrim beat New York (0-19 to 1-15 after extra-time) in the quarter-final in Gaelic Park.


2017: Roscommon 2-23 Leitrim 1-9 (Connacht semi-final)

2016: Roscommon 1-21 Leitrim 0-11 (Connacht quarter-final)

2014: Roscommon 2-18 Leitrim 0-13 (Connacht quarter-final)

2011: Roscommon 2-12 Leitrim 0-6 (Connacht semi-final)

2010: Roscommon 1-13 Leitrim 0-11 (Connacht semi-final)

Roscommon have beaten Leitrim by an average of over 12 points in their last four championship meetings.

Leitrim have scored only one goal in their last five championship clashes with Roscommon. It was scored by Darragh Rooney in last year’s Connacht semi-final.

Leitrim’s last championship win over Roscommon was in 2000, which was also the last time they reached the Connacht final.

Roscommon are going for their eighth successive championship win over Leitrim.

Kevin McStay is in his third season as Roscommon manager while Brendan Guckian is in his second season with Leitrim. The winners will play Galway or Sligo in the Connacht final on June 17.


They meet for a second successive year, with Tipperary having won last year’s semi-final by two points in what was their first championship success over the Rebels since 1944.


2017: Cork 1-10 Tipperary 1-9 (Munster semi-final)

2016: Tipperary 3-15 Cork 2-16 (Munster semi-final)

2014: Cork 0-16 Tipperary 1-11 (Munster semi-final)

2007: Cork 2-18 Tipperary 0-10 (Munster semi-final)

2002: Cork 1-23 Tipperary 0-7 (Munster final) – Replay

They meet for a third successive year, with Tipperary winning in 2016 and Cork edging to victory by a point last year.

Tipperary beat Waterford by 0-20 to 0-9 in the quarter-final last Saturday. Cork, who are having their first outing, finished fifth in Division 2 this year, winning three and losing four of seven games.

Liam Kearns is in his third season as Tipperary manager while Ronan McCarthy is leading Cork in the championship for the first time.

The winners will play Kerry or Clare in the Munster final on June 23.



May 6: Quarter-finals: Leitrim 0-19 New York 1-15 (aet), Gaelic Park; Sligo 1-21 London 1-11, McGovern Park, Ruislip.

May 13: Quarter-final: Galway 1-12 Mayo 0-12, Elverys Mac Hale Park.

May 26: Semi-final: Leitrim v Roscommon, Carrick-on-Shannon.

June 3: Semi-final: Galway v Sligo

June 17: Final


May 12: First round: Laois 2-21 Wexford 1-18 (aet), Innovate Wexford Park.

May 13: First round: Carlow 2-17 Louth 0-12; Wicklow 1-20 Offaly 1-15 (aet) Both in O’Moore Park, Portlaoise.

May 26/27: Quarter-finals: Laois v Westmeath; Carlow v Kildare; Wicklow v Dublin; Longford v Meath.

June 10: Semi-finals: Dublin/Wicklow v Longford/Meath; Carlow/Kildare v Laois/Westmeath. (Both in Croke Park)

June 24: Final, Croke Park.


May 19: Quarter-finals: Clare 1-23 Limerick 0-14, Gaelic Grounds; Tipperary 0-20 Waterford 0-9, Semple Stadium.

May 26 or June 2: Semi-final: Tipperary v Cork, Semple Stadium.

June 3: Kerry v Clare, Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney.

June 23: Final


May 13: Preliminary Round: Donegal 2-20 Cavan 1-15, Ballybofey.

May 19: Quarter-final: Fermanagh 0-12 Armagh 0-7, Enniskillen.

May 20: Quarter-final: Monaghan 1-18 Tyrone 1-16, Omagh.

May 26: Quarter-final: Down v Antrim, Newry.

May 27: Quarter-final: Donegal v Derry, Celtic Park.

June 3: Semi-final: Fermanagh v Monaghan

June 10: Semi-final: Donegal/Derry v Antrim/Down.

June 24: Final


June 9: Qualifiers – Round 1 (16 counties who do not reach provincial semi-finals)

London, Mayo, Louth, Offaly, Wexford, Cavan, Armagh, Tyrone, Limerick, Waterford, Dublin or Wicklow, Laois or Westmeath, Longford or Meath, Carlow or Kildare, Donegal or Derry, Down or Antrim.

June 23: Qualifiers – Round 2 (Round 1 winners beaten provincial semi-finalists)

June 30: Round 2 winners – four games

July 7/8: Round 2 winners v beaten provincial finalists


July 14/15: Phase 1: Group 1: Connacht winners v Munster winners; Ulster runners-up/Round 4 winner v Leinster runner-up/Round 4 winner. Group 2: Leinster winners v Ulster winners; Munster runners-up/Round 4 winners v Connacht runners-up/ Round 4 winners.

July 21/22: Phase 2: Group 1: Connacht winners v Ulster runners-up/ Round 4 qualifier; Munster winners v Leinster runners-up/ Round 4 qualifier; Group 2: Ulster winners v Munster runners-up/Round 4 qualifi-er; Leinster winners v Connacht runners-up/Round 4 winner.

August 4/5/6: Phase 3: Group 1: Munster winners v Ulster runners-up/Round 4 winners; Connacht win-ners v Leinster runners-up/Round 4 winners; Group 2: Leinster winners v Munster runners-up/Round 4 winners; Ulster winners v Connacht runners-up/Round 4 winner.

August 11: All-Ireland semi-final.

August 12: All-Ireland semi-final.

September 2: All-Ireland final

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