- All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship
Infobox GAA championship main
name=All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship
trophy=Andy Merrigan Cup
St Vincents GAA
mostordinal=7The All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship is an annual
Gaelic footballtournament run since 1971, played between the thousands of senior football clubs in Ireland. The current holders are St. Vincent's GAA, who won their second title beating Nemo Rangers on 17 March 2008. The prize for the winning team is the Andy Merrigan Cup, which is named in honour of Castletown and Wexford footballer Andy Merrigan, who died as a result of a farm accident at the height of his playing career. It was first presented in 1974.
Each of Ireland's 32 counties play their own championship between all the Gaelic football clubs in the county - depending on the county, it can be league, knockout, or a mixture of both. The 32 county champions play in the 4 provincial championships, with the four winners of these advancing to the All-Ireland Semi-Finals (one team usually plays the London champions in a quarter-final). The All-Ireland Final is played in
Croke Parkon St. Patrick's Day.
*County championships: June-September
*Provincial championships: September-December
*All-Ireland Quarter-Final: December
*All-Ireland Semi-Finals: February
Ulster and Connacht tournaments were first held in the 1960s before an All-Ireland tournament was mooted at the GAA National Congress in 1969 - despite opposition from many delegations the motion received the 2/3 majority necessary and the first winners in 1970-71 were an East Kerry divisional team (nowadays amalgamations of clubs are not allowed to enter the All-Ireland). The Andy Merrigan Cup was first awarded in 1974, donated by the Castletown club in memory of the great Wexford footballer who died in a farming accident at the height of his career.
Dublin clubs (UCD x2 and St. Vincent's of
Raheny) won a three-in-a-row of All-Irelands in 1974-76, before Kerry and Cork clubs began to dominate, winning 9 titles in 13 years, 1977-89, including four for Nemo Rangers of Cork. Clan na nGael (Drum and Clonown) won 7 Connacht titles in 8 years (1983-90), but could not win a single All-Ireland.
Burren of Down ended a 14-year Ulster drought when they were victorious in 1986.
Baltinglasscaused a major shock in 1990 by winning their and Wicklow's first national honour, while Nemo pulled ahead with their fifth title in 1994. In 1998, Corofin won Galway's and Connacht's first national award, six months before the county team's first All-Ireland for 32 years.
In the late 90s the club championship rose to national prominence with regular TV coverage and the prestigious St. Patrick's Day fixture in
Croke Parkfor the final. Crossmaglen Rangersclaimed 3 All-Irelands in 4 years from 1997-2000. While the Caltra club of Galway won their first Galway title, first Connacht award and first All-Ireland in one year, 2003-04. 2006 saw Salthill-Knocknacarraof Galway complete a Connacht three-in-a-row.
All-Ireland winners shown in bold type. County in (brackets).
* [http://www.setanta.com/portal/systemcontent/article?open&articleid=1430e0c2577b78e1802571f40043c546 2006 Results from Setanta.com/ie]
* [http://www.clubgaa.ie List of GAA Clubs Online]
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