A new-look league format for the Carlow football leagues springs into action this weekend.
While the inter-county season moves into round 4 of the Allianz Football League with Carlow away to Leitrim on Sunday, club players will have the first chance to step out in competitive action from Friday night.
Per Carlow GAA, “the new league Format for 2023 is intended to make the League more competitive, provide more games to the club player and reduce the number of walkovers.”
Among the changes for this year are the combining of Division 1 and 2 along with Division 3 and 4. The format for Division 5 remains unchanged.
So how does it all work?
For the new look combination of Division 1 and 2, games from this Friday form part of the preliminary round-robin with four groups of four. Each group consists of one team from each of the top four senior teams, one from the second four senior teams and one each from the top four and second four intermediate teams.
The Finishing position in the 2022 Championships has determined which ‘four’ each club will be drawn from. The team relegated in 2022 will be top of their new grade, promoted team will be bottom of their new grade.
After the preliminary round robin, the top two teams in each of the four groups will play in Division 1, with 3rd and 4th positions playing in Division 2.
The full League will see seven games, with the top four in semi-finals (1 v 4, 2 v 3), the fifth team in a league shield final, that team facing the winner of sixth v seventh in a shield semi-final. The bottom-placed team will be eliminated.
This guarantees clubs a minimum of 10 games plus knockout games with a schedule to run between the end of February and the June Bank Holiday weekend. To ease concerns over the availability of players, games can be played with 13, 14 or 15 players. Both teams shall play with the same number of players and with the maximum number available.
Opening weekend fixtures
Senior/Intermediate Group A (Friday)
Rathvilly v Old Leighlin
Naomh Eoin v Clonmore
Senior/Intermediate Group C (Friday)
Bagenalstown Gaels v Mount Leinster Rangers
St. Patrick’s v Kildavin/Clonegal
Junior preliminary rounds Group A (Saturday)
Ballon v Palatine 2
Ballinabranna 2 v Fenagh
Junior preliminary rounds Group B
Leighlinbridge v Fighting Cocks
Clonmore 2 v Bye
Junior preliminary rounds Group C
Tinryland v Rathvilly
Kildavin/Clonegal v Bye
Junior preliminary rounds Group D
O’Hanrahan’s v Old Leighlin
Askea v Bye
Find the full list of this weekend’s opening round fixtures on CarlowGAA.ie.