Club football championship changes - for or against?

Story by Conall Collier

Saturday, 22nd December, 2018 10:00am

Club football championship changes - for or against?

Meath Co Board chairman Peter O'Halloran will have a packed agenda on 7th January

Meath GAA Co Board delegates will be eagerly looking forward to the first meeting of 2019 on Monday 7th January at Dunganny.

Top of the agenda will be the almost customary discussion about the club football championships at senior, intermediate and junior grades.

The (almost) annual proposals to change the format will once more be discussed after futile efforts to implement change in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

There is a belief at this stage amongst the Co Board officials that the way to improve the standard of club football in the Royal County is to reduce the number of championship games in the top three grades.

More than a decade ago a decision to move away from the four-team group format was sanctioned and groups of eight were introduced, this was later reduced to six teams per group.

The motivation for change now appears to centre on the necessity to get club games out of the way to facilitate inter-county football.

That may not be the main issue for Meath delegates, but nevertheless, the Co Board motions for change are likely to be ratified, and more importantly, implemented for the 2019 football championships.

There will also be a District Championship from 2020.


The following proposals will be considered:

Three teams shall be relegated from SFC to IFC in 2019, the intermediate football champions of 2019 will be promoted to SFC for 2020

Relegation from SFC shall be decided as follows - the teams that finish in fifth and sixth places in each group A,B, C each play one relegation game. The loser of each game will be relegated to IFC for 2020.

The draw will be pre-determined as follows - A5 v B6; B5 v C6; C5 v A6.

In the event of a relegation game finishing level, extra-time will be played and if still level then the game will go to a replay.

Intermediate football champions of 2019 will promoted to SFC for 2020.

There shall be no relegation from Intermediate Football Championship for 2019.

The 2020 IFC shall consist of 20 first teams. 

To ensure this happens the two best placed Junior Football Championship first teams in 2019 shall be promoted to the IFC for 2020.

This shall include the 2019 JFC Champions (if a first team) and the JFC runner-up (if a first team). 

If necessary a play-off shall take place between the beaten JFC semi-finalists (if first teams).

Any second team competing in the 2019 IFC shall be regraded to a new Premier A grade for 2020.

No first team shall be relegated from Junior Football Championship in 2019.

All second teams competing in JFC in 2019 shall be regraded to the Premier A grade for 2020.

All first teams competing in Junior B Football Championship for 2019 shall be upgraded to Junior Football Championship for 2020, unless they apply to be graded to the new Premier grade.



Following the completion of the 2019 B Football Leagues all teams in Div 1 plus the Div 2 finalists or any team that applies or is invited, up to a maximum of 12 teams shall be placed in a new A FL Div 4A for 2020. At the end of 2019, the final standings of B FL Div 1 will be used to determine promotion and relegation. 

B FL Div 1 will be known as Div 4A and Div 4 will be known as Div 4B 

At the end of 2019, the top two teams from Div 4A will be promoted to Div 3, the bottom four teams from Div 4A will be relegated to Div 4B and the top four teams from Div 4B will be promoted to Div 4A.



For the 2020 SFC there shall be six championships at adult football level in Meath - senior, intermediate, junior, district, u-21, premier (at various grades).

The SFC shall contain 16 teams drawn in rotation into four groups each containing four teams.

The top two teams shall progress to the quarter-finals, the bottom two in each group shall contest the relegation quarter-finals.


The IFC shall consist of 20 teams drawn randomly in five groups each containing four teams.

The top two teams in each group shall contest the relegation knock-out stages in a predetermined draw.


The Junior Football Championship shall consist of the remaining first teams.

Following completion of the affiliations each year, the format of this competition will be finalised.

The winner of the JFC each year shall be promoted to IFC the following year. There shall be no relegation from JFC.


The Premier Club Football Championships (second, third teams) shall be graded in Groups of eight with the top four teams in each group qualifying for the semi-finals of each grade.


A District Senior Football Championship shall be organised. This competition shall contain at least eight independent teams from clubs from the intermediate and junior grades.

The District Championship shall commence after the IFC and JFC are completed. Independent teams shall be ratified before 28th February annually.

Players from clubs that have won IFC and JFC titles may opt out of District Championship while involved in Leinster Club Championships.


The Feis Cup, Corn na Boinne and Tailteann Cup may be played as a pre-season competition in groups of four or less. 

The format shall be decided annually.


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