The Irish World has been announced as the sponsor of London’s senior Gaelic Football and Hurling championships later this year.
The Irish World’s publisher and Managing Director Paddy Cowan, said: “As everyone knows, our coverage of the GAA in London and Britain is second to none and our sponsorship of both of these competitions further illustrates our commitment to the GAA.
“As well as being the long-standing media partner to London GAA, we are also sponsor of St Mary’s University Ladies Gaelic Football team, Dulwich Harps and further announcements are in the offing.
“We have an excellent working relationship with the London County Board and are pleased to be able to further strengthen that relationship with this announcement.”
Chairman of the GAA’s London County Board John Lacey said: “We are delighted that our long-time partner and supporter, the Irish World, is sponsoring the Football and Hurling Championships.
“We believe the GAA plays an essential role in the life of the Irish in Britain, and London especially, and the Irish World has long supported us in that.”
The new Irish World Senior Football Championship will get underway in the second week of September, with reigning champions Fulham Irish up against Kingdom Kerry Gaels, St Kiernan’s and Parnells, who will all want to take that title from them.
Provisionally and subject to final confirmation early next month, Group B is made up of last year’s runners up, Tir Chonaill Gaels, Round Towers, North London Shamrocks and Cuchuallains.
Round 2 will provisionally take place on 15-16 September, with Round 3 fixed for 22-23 September. The semi-finals are scheduled for 5-6 October and the final on 21 October.
The London football champions will then travel to play the winners of Roscommon on 4 November, as London competes – for the first time – in the Connacht Provincial Championship.
But it’s not just in football where 2018 will bring exciting changes.
Sweeping changes to the hurling championship will include a senior qualifying round, played on a round robin basis, involving the four intermediate clubs (Fr Murphys, Granuaile, Thomas McCurtains and Fulham Irish).
The winner (who will remain senior in 2019) will progress to the senior championship round two, while the other three teams join the ‘B’ teams and St Declan’s in intermediate, which will be played on a round robin basis.
The top two will advance to the intermediate final. The senior qualifying round will be followed by a senior preliminary round, with the six senior clubs initially playing for seeding places for the first round proper.
The senior preliminary round will pit reigning champs Kilburn Gaels against last year’s intermediate winners Brothers Pearse, Robert Emmetts against Sean Treacys, while Cuchuallains play St Gabriels.
The first round winners will advance to the senior championship round robin. The three losers go into the second round of the championship, where they’ll be joined by the intermediate side which won the senior qualifying round.
Those four sides will play-off. The two winners will then meet to decide which team goes into the senior championship round robin.
The losers face each other in a relegation final. The four teams in the senior championship round robin play-off against each other, with the top two sides contesting the final.
The intermediate championship winner will make it a seven team senior hurling championship in 2019. The structure will therefore need to be reviewed for 2019.