The Allianz Football League was launched at Croke Park yesterday, setting the scene for nine weeks of top class inter-county action between the weekend after next and the four divisional finals in Croke Park on March 30th and 31st.
There will be 116 games in total and this year’s Allianz League will be the first time that a single competition has been covered with live games broadcast across three separate broadcasters.
TG4 on Sundays and through to the finals and eir Sport on Saturday nights have been long term broadcast partners and RTÉ Sport have entered the frame in 2019 with four live games to be shown following an agreement with eir Sport.
That is a major positive for the sponsors Allianz who are engaged in backing the Leagues for a 27th year. They extended the partnership by a further five years in January 2017.
Tomorrow morning we will carry an exclusive interview with Damien O’Neill, Allianz Head of Marketing Operations and Communications on the motivation behind the long term commitment and how they are keeping the relationship fresh.
A special programme featuring Stephen O’Brien from Kerry, Shane Walsh from Galway and Ryan Wylie from Monaghan was broadcast yesterday on GAA Now through social media channels, adding further to the wave of coverage that the Leagues generate.
The quality of match up and the relative parity of the competing teams has been a huge win for interest in the Allianz League and that is expected to be the case again in 2019 with Dublin taking on Kerry, Tyrone and Mayo in matches that will lay down a strong marker for the All Ireland Championship.
Dublin were held to a draw by Galway last season and were beaten in the final round by Monaghan and lost the Final in 2017 to Kerry. The opportunity of others doing likewise will provide a real spark to all of their matches over the coming weeks.
“Over the past 27 years we have witnessed the evolution of the game along with the ever-growing profile and reputation of this competition,” said Sean McGrath, Allianz CEO speaking yesterday.
“Such is the public appetite for Gaelic Games, which is a tradition, we at Allianz, are extremely proud to be a part of.”
“We are excited to welcome extended coverage of the 2019 Allianz Leagues with longstanding partners, eirSport, TG4 and now RTE all broadcasting live action this season. It makes for another enthralling campaign and I would like to extend my best wishes to the management, players and fans who are the heartbeat of this great competition.”
“The start of the Allianz Leagues will be warmly welcomed by GAA supporters across the country as the 2019 campaign swings into life,” said GAA President John Horan.
“Incredibly this is Allianz’s 27th year supporting the competitions which have grown from strength to strength in recent seasons with all of the competing counties finding their competition level and keen to challenge for honours and promotion.”
“I wish all of our competing teams well and I’d like to acknowledge the ongoing support of Allianz and their CEO Seán McGrath in helping us to bring these games to the widest audience possible.”
Dublin will begin their title defence on Sunday week against Monaghan, the only team to beat them in Allianz League or Championship last year. Monaghan beat Jim Gavin’s men by a point in the final round of Division 1 games last March.
There will also be a number of double headers alongside the Lidl Ladies Footbal National League with two such pairings taking place at Croke Park and Pairc Uí Chaoimh.