GAA’s new rules on avoiding replays have come into operation

All-Ireland qualifiers must be decided on the day

Meath’s James McEntee and Longford’s Dessie Reynolds during an O’Byrne Cup semi-final in Navan in January. The teams were eventually separated by a shoot-out. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

The radically condensed championship season with more matches shoehorned into a tighter schedule means the GAA’s new rules on avoiding replays have come into operation.

Only finals – provincial and All-Ireland – will continue to go to a replay after teams have been level on 70 minutes. All other provincial championship matches, as well as All-Ireland quarter-finals and semi-finals, will have two periods of extra time, lasting 10 minutes each. If the sides are still level at that stage, a replay will be required.

For instance, should Mayo and Galway not sort out their eagerly-awaited Connacht quarter-final there will be 20 minutes extra time and then, if necessary, a replay in Pearse Stadium.

However, for All-Ireland football qualifiers and hurling’s preliminary quarter-finals the rule is that the fixture must be decided on the day. That requires ordinary periods of extra time should teams be level, followed by two more periods of five minutes if neither side has won. In the event the sides are still inseparable, a shoot-out will take place, such as decided the O’Byrne Cup semi-final between Meath and Longford earlier this year.

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Each team nominates five players who take it in turns to kick from 33 metres out, the edge of the D – in hurling it’s the 65m line, as applied in the Limerick-Clare AHL quarter-final – to determine the winner. If level after the first five frees, they continue until one misses and the other scores.

Both the football and hurling championships will feature round-robin formats this summer, and in those fixtures draws result in teams being awarded a point each with no need for extra time.

Ordinary championship replays – up to and including provincial final level – also provide for 20 – and if necessary a further 10-minute period of extra time. Other matches – All-Ireland finals and semi-finals – will just play 20 minutes before going to a second replay.

Seán Moran

Seán Moran

Seán Moran is GAA Correspondent of The Irish Times