This week we launched the 2019 Allianz Leagues. Take a look:
Allianz Football League All Set For Take-Off
The inter-county famine is about to end, giving way to a nine-week feast of Allianz Football League action between the weekend after next and the four divisional finals in Croke Park on March 30/31.
The exciting programme features 116 games across the four divisions in a campaign which will mark the 27th year of Allianz’ partnership with the GAA as sponsor of the Allianz Leagues, making it one of the longest-running sponsorships in Irish sport.
CEO of Allianz Ireland, Seán McGrath said: “Over the past 27 years we have witnessed the evolution of the game along with the ever-growing profile and reputation of this competition. 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."
Uachtarán CLG John Horan added: "The start of the Allianz Leagues will be warmly welcomed by GAA supporters across the country as the 2019 campaign swings into life."
"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."
There’s a long list of intriguing questions to be answered in all four Divisions, topped by whether Dublin can win the Division 1 title for the sixth time in seven seasons, having been successful in 2013-14-15-16-18. It’s the most successful Allianz Football League run by any county since Kerry won five titles in six seasons in 1969-71-72-73-74.
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.
The competitive nature of Division 1 is underlined by the presence of six of the eight ‘Super 8’ counties from last year’s Championship. The exceptions are Cavan, who have come up from Division 2, and Mayo, who reached every All-Ireland semi-final between 2011 and 2017. Kildare and Donegal, both of whom reached the ‘Super 8s’ last year, are in Division 2 where they will be well-fancied to make a quick return to the top tier.
Galway, who marked their return to Division 1 last year by reaching the final, host Cavan on opening day while Peter Keane begins his term as Kerry manager with a test against the competition’s longest-standing manager Mickey Harte who takes his Tyrone side to Killarney. Two new managers, James Horan (Mayo) and Anthony Cunningham (Roscommon) will go head-to-head in the other opening weekend Division 1 games.
Kilkenny Bidding to Join Tipperary at the Top of Allianz Hurling League Honours List
Defending Allianz Hurling League Division 1 champions Kilkenny have a special incentive to win this year’s competition, where another success would see them join Tipperary at the top of the honours’ list.
Tipperary, who last won the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 crown in 2008, have 19 titles and are one ahead of the Cats, who won their 18th last year. Half of Kilkenny’s honours have been won since 2002, including a treble in 2012-13-14 and doubles in 2002-03 and 2005-06.
Brian Cody’s men begin their title defence at home to Cork, who were last crowned Allianz Hurling League champions in 1998.
This will be the 27th year of Allianz’ partnership with the GAA through their sponsorship of the Allianz Leagues, making it one of the longest sponsorships in Irish sport. It’s a very concentrated programme this year, running between next weekend and March 24, when the Division 1 final will be played.
CEO of Allianz Ireland, Seán McGrath said: “The Allianz Hurling League has served up some truly memorable occasions down through the years and I have no doubt the 2019 season will be just as entertaining and unpredictable as ever.”
As we prepare for another season of inevitable twists and turns on the field of play, I would like to commend our partners in the GAA on their professional management and tireless promotion of the Allianz Leagues and look forward to our 27th year in partnership.”
Uachtarán CLG, John Horan said:"It's not hard to understand the expectation that accompanies this year's Allianz Hurling Leagues given the year that was 2018.”
"Hope springs eternal across the divisions and in the coming weeks the contenders will emerge from the pack making a case for honours.”
"In this the 27th year of our partnership with Allianz, I would like to acknowledge their role in helping us to bolster the profile of competitions that have been more popular."