All roads lead to Croke Park for business end of season

Headquarters to host the final 12 games in football and hurling championships

The summer always ends too quickly.

With four teams left standing in the hurling championship and 10 still alive in football, we’re down to just a dozen games to pick between them all. Assuming no replays, everything moves to Croke Park now – starting with back-to-back double-headers this weekend.

The GAA has released details of the times and dates for the upcoming rounds of fixtures in both codes. First up is a football double-header in Croke Park this Saturday, deciding the remaining two places in the All-Ireland quarter-finals. Round 4B of the qualifiers will see Monaghan play Down at five o’clock, followed by Kildare v Armagh at 7pm. Both games will be shown live on Sky Sports.

The Monaghan v Down game is a reprise of their Ulster semi-final last month. It will be the first time the teams have met outside of Ulster and Down’s first appearance in Croke Park since the 2012 All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Mayo.


For Armagh and Kildare, this will be a first ever championship encounter. The build-up is certain to be dominated by the figure of Kieran McGeeney, the Armagh manager who spent six seasons with Kildare around the turn of the decade. As with his time in Kildare, McGeeney has put together a strong qualifier run with Armagh, stringing together wins over Fermanagh, Westmeath and Tipperary.

Sunday’s quarter-final bill in Croke Park begins with the meeting of Galway and Kerry at 2pm. These teams have been relatively frequent foes for teams from different provinces, having met at the quarter-final stage in 2014, 2008 and 2002. Galway have a terrible record in the fixture, however, and are without a win over Kerry since the 1965 All-Ireland final.

Adopted county

The second game on Sunday will be the all-Connacht meeting of Roscommon and Mayo at four o’clock. It will be the first time two Connacht teams have met in the championship in Croke Park. Roscommon haven’t beaten Mayo since 2001 and much of the focus ahead of the game will be on Kevin McStay, the Mayoman on the Roscommon sideline.

Although a long-time native of his adopted county – and an All-Ireland club title winner with St Brigid’s – McStay still drew some soft-headed local abuse during Roscommon’s poor run in the league because of his Mayo heritage. Presumably the Connacht title they won against Galway earlier this month – Roscommon’s first since 2010 – has laid most of that to rest.

They will fancy a cut off Mayo, who will be playing their fourth game in five weeks, two of which have gone to extra-time. Both games on Sunday will be televised live on RTÉ.

The GAA also confirmed the details of the two upcoming hurling semi-finals next month. Although both games will of course be played in Croke Park, there will be no Leinster team in the semi-finals for the first time in the history of the championship.

Tipperary will take on Leinster champions Galway on Sunday, August 6th at 4pm. This will be the third year in a row that these two teams have met at the semi-final stage, with both previous games on decided by a single score.

In the second semi-final, Cork will play Waterford on Sunday August 13th, also at 4pm. This will be the first time the two sides have met in Croke Park since their epic two-game series in the 2007 championship, which Waterford eventually won after a replay.

Both games will be shown live on RTÉ and Sky Sports.

Saturday, July 29th

All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers Round 4B

Monaghan v Down, 5.00, Sky Sports

Kildare v Armagh, 7.00, Sky Sports

Sunday, July 30th

All-Ireland SFC quarter-final

Kerry v Galway, 2.00, RTE

Mayo v Roscommon, 4.00, RTÉ

Saturday, August 5th

All-Ireland SFC quarter-final

Dublin v Armagh/Down/Monaghan, Sky Sports

Tyrone v Armagh/Monaghan/Kildare, Sky Sports

Sunday, August 6th

All-Ireland SHC semi-final

Galway v Tipperary, 4.00 RTÉ/Sky Sports

Sunday, August 13th

All-Ireland SHC semi-final

Cork v Waterford, 4.00 RTE/Sky Sports