The Allianz football and hurling Leagues were formally launched at Dublin Port yesterday as the GAA’s spring highlights gear up for an earlier start and finish than ever before.
Both leagues get underway this year on the 27th January and the action continues through to Sunday, April 1st when the Allianz Division 1 & 2 football league finals will be played.
This will be the 26th season that Allianz are aboard as sponsors of the leagues, making it one of the longest sponsorships in Irish sport.
“2018 marks the 26th year of our partnership with the GAA as sponsors of the Allianz Leagues,” said Sean McGrath, CEO of Allianz at the launch.
“While on paper we are sponsors of the GAA, the reality is that we are partners in every sense of the word.”
“I would like to take this opportunity to commend the GAA on their professional management and tireless promotion of the competition and look forward to another year of our partnership being brought to life in myriad ways.”
Five football games are on the agenda for Saturday week, with the remaining eleven on the following day.
The big opening day attraction sees All-Ireland champions, Dublin hosting promoted Kildare in Croke Park, while Allianz Football League Division 1 title holders, Kerry begin their defence against Donegal in Killarney a day later.
Kerry ended Dublin’s five-in-a-row dream last April, winning the final by a point to take the title for the first time since 2009. Mayo, runners-up to Dublin in last year’s All-Ireland championship, take on Monaghan in Clones.
Galway will play Tyrone in what will be the Tribesmen’s first game in Division 1 since 2011. Kildare return to Division 1 for the first time since 2014.
Ulster have the most representatives in Division 1, with Donegal, Monaghan and Tyrone flying the flag. Connacht (Mayo, Galway) and Leinster (Dublin, Kildare) have two each, with Kerry being Munster’s sole standard bearer.
Join us on Thursday morning at the Marker Hotel for Breakfast with sporting and business leaders as we look ahead to the Sporting Year with Paraic Duffy of the GAA, Pat Keogh of Leopardstown Racecourse, Sue Ronan of the FAI, Diarmaid Murphy of the GAA and with Kelli O’Keeffe of Teneo PSG delivering insight on the relationship between sport and the Irish public. Reserve your place here.
Image Credit: Brendan Moran, Sportsfile