GAA's updated Masters Fixtures Calendar released

The GAA's updated Masters Fixtures Calendar has for the 2021 season has been released today.

Inter-county action returns on May 8/9 with Divisions 1 and 2 of the Allianz Hurling League, with the Allianz Football League starting a week later on the weekend of May 15/16.

The leagues will conclude on June 19/20 and the championships will get underway a week later, on June 26/27, continuing up to the All-Ireland senior football championship final on August 28/29. The senior hurling final will be played a week earlier, on August 21/22.

All told, the inter-county fixtures will be played over a 20-week period, with a guaranteed minimum of five games for each senior county football and hurling teams, and all bar three counties guaranteed six games in hurling.

In football, the divisions will be split into north and south, as originally planned in December. Four teams are placed in each group, with Mayo's league opponents being Down, Meath and Westmeath.

The top two teams in each divisional group will advance to the league semi-finals, followed by a league final. The bottom two will play relegation semi-finals, with the two losers of those matches relegated. The bottom teams in Division 4 will play a Shield semi-final and final.

The league finals will only be played on June 19/20 if counties involved are not playing in the championship the following weekend. If they are, joint winners will be declared for Division 1 and joint winners and promotion for Divisions 2, 3 and 4.

The 2021 All-Ireland SFC will be played as a straight knockout competition from the provincial series forward. There will be no qualifiers and New York and London will not be involved. There will be no Tailteann Cup in 2021.

In hurling, there will be no league finals in Divisions 1, 2 or 3. In Divisions 2 and 3, the top team will be crowned champions. The bottom team in Divisions 2A, 2B (where Mayo will be playing) and 3A will be relegated.

In the championship, Mayo will once again compete in the Nicky Rackard Cup with Donegal (who beat Mayo in the 2020 final), Leitrim, Tyrone and Armagh. Three teams will be in Group A, each playing two games, while the two Group B teams will play each other in one fixture. The bottom team from A will play the B loser, with the losing team relegated to the Lory Meagher Cup. The top two teams from A will play against the winner of B and the winner of the quarterfinal/relegation playoff in the semi-finals.

The return to collective senior inter-county training will be from April 19. Dates for minor and Under 20 championships will be finalised when there is clarity on a return to training and play.

Club competitions with county players can take place as county teams exit the championships (in football, teams start exiting from the end of June; in hurling, from July 10). From August 1, all counties bar All-Ireland semi-finalists in football and hurling (and the teams in the Division 1 hurling relegation playoff) will be free to stage club competitions with county players.

The county club championships will be followed by provincial championships from November 20/21, running until the finals on January 15/16 next year. The All-Ireland junior and intermediate finals are provisionally fixed for February 5/6, with the senior finals due to take place a week later on February 12/13.

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