Saturday 18 November 2017

Explained: How the football championship's new 'Super 8' quarter-final stage will work in 2018

25 February 2017; Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Aogán Ó Fearghail, left, and Ard Stiúrthoir Paraic Duffy in conversation before the 2017 GAA Annual Congress at Croke Park, in Dublin. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
25 February 2017; Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Aogán Ó Fearghail, left, and Ard Stiúrthoir Paraic Duffy in conversation before the 2017 GAA Annual Congress at Croke Park, in Dublin. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Will Slattery

Will Slattery

The GAA Congress today voted to make the most significant change to the structure of the football championship since the introduction of the qualifier system in 2001.

The delegates opted to do away with the current quarter-final stage and replace it with a round robin format, which has become known as the Super 8.

Read more: The 'Super 8' is coming into the All Ireland SFC in 2018 as hurling and football finals moved to August

The new system will be trialled on a three year basis starting in 2018, and is relatively simple.

The four provincial champions and the four provincial runners-up, or the team that beats them in round four of the qualifiers, will be sorted into two groups of four.

Each team will play one home game, one away game and one game in Croke Park, with the top two teams in each group progressing to the semi-finals.

Read more: 'Who gives a f*** about them' - Clare star Collins leads players' anger after Super 8 motion passed

Here is how the two groups will be laid out in 2018:

Group 1 - Munster champion, Connacht champion, Ulster runner-up (or team that beats them in round four of the qualifiers) and the Leinster runner-up (or team that beats them in round four of the qualifiers).

Group 2 - Ulster champion, Leinster champion, Munster runner-up (or team that beats them in round four of the qualifiers) and Connacht runner-up (or team that beats them in round four of the qualifiers).

It will be interesting to see how the games are scheduled, as congress also voted to bring forward the All-Ireland finals by two weeks, thus adding eight extra quarter-finals while condensing the schedule.

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