By John Harrington
The GAA today released the fixtures, dates, times, and venues for the 2021 Allianz Football and Hurling Leagues, all of which can be viewed and downloaded in the document at the bottom of this article.
The Hurling League will league will start with a bang on Saturday, May 8, when reigning All-Ireland and League champions Limerick play Tipperary in the LIT Gaelic Grounds at 5.30pm.
The other Division 1 matches over the course of the weekend will see Westmeath play Galway, Dublin play Kilkenny, Cork play Waterford, Wexford play Laois, and Antrim play Clare.
The Allianz Football League also gets off to what should be a dramatic start on May 15.
In Division 1, Kerry will host Galway in Austin Stack Park at 3pm, while Tyrone will play neighbours and fierce rivals Donegal in Healy Park at 5pm.
One noteworthy fixture to look out for in Division 1 is the meeting of Dublin and Kerry on Sunday, May 23. The match will be played in Semple Stadium in Thurles, which will surely bring back memories of the epic All-Ireland SFC Quarter-Final the two counties contested in that venue back in 2001.
2021 Allianz Football League structure
The Allianz Football League will run from the weekend of May 15/16 to the weekend of June 19/20 with Divisions split into North and South as originally planned in December.
Four teams will be in each group based on geography with three Round Robin games per team. The top two in each divisional group will advance to the league semi-finals followed by a league final.
The bottom two in each divisional group 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.
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, then joint winners will be declared for Division 1 and joint winners and promotion for Divisions 2, 3, and 4.
London will not be participating in the 2021 Allianz Football League.
2021 Allianz Hurling League structure
Divisions 1 and 2 of the Allianz Hurling League will run from the weekend of May 8/9 to the weekend of June 12/13. Division 3 of the Allianz Hurling League will run from the weekend of May 15/16 to the weekend of June 19/20.
There will be no Division 1 Hurling League quarter-finals, semi-finals, or Final played. There will either be joint winners for 2021, or or if the teams that win Div 1A and Div 1B meet in the Championship, this will double as a League Final.
The Division 1 Hurling League Relegation Play-off will be played as curtain raiser to Senior Hurling Semi Final in August.
Divisions 2 and 3 will not have League Finals either. The top team in each Division will be crowned champions. The bottom team in Divisions 2A, 2B, and 3A will be relegated.
British based teams will not be involved in the Allianz Hurling Leagues this year. London and London and Warwickshire will start 2022 in Divisions 2B and 3A respectively; Lancashire in 3B.