In a significant change to the senior championship format this year, three clubs will be relegated to leave 10 teams competing for the Connolly Cup in 2014 (including the promoted Intermediate champions in 2013) and thus the pressure will immediately be on those teams who lose their opening round fixtures.
As a result, the games in the league stage of the championship should be a lot more competitive with so much at stake and the four clubs who eventually end up in the round-robin relegation play-offs will be facing a serious battle for survival with just the top team in the final table securing their senior status.
There will be an Open Draw for Round 2 (next Sunday evening) and Round 3 in the current senior championship, compared to four series of group fixtures that were played in the 2012 Connolly Cup.
The Open Draw for Round 2 cannot be made until the first round games are played (and so on) and when this section of the championship (3 rounds of fixtures) is eventually complete, the teams filling the top eight placings in the league table will qualify for the quarter-finals.
In the event of teams finishing on the same number of points in the league table, scores difference will determine the final positions or the head-to-head result if required. The quarter-finals draw will then work out as follows:
(A) Team 1 v Team 8; (B) Team 2 v Team 7; (C) Team 3 v Team 6; (D) Team 4 v Team 5. The semi-finals draw is: Winner QF A v Winner QF D; Winner QF B v Winner QF C.
2013 Mulleady Group Intermediate Football Championship
The eight Intermediate clubs in the county will battle it out for the Gerry Hennessy Cup - Ardagh St. Patrick’s, Ballymore, Carrickedmond, Cashel, Kenagh, Legan Sarsfields, Rathcline and Sean Connolly’s.
The quest for the county title in the second tier will be extremely competitive again and the most attractive game in the first round is the meeting of Cashel and Carrickedmond with the losers under pressure to reach the knock-out stages.
There will then be an Open Draw for two further rounds and the teams filling the top four places in the league table will qualify for the semi-finals, the draw for which will work-out as follows: Team 1 v Team 4; Team 2 v Team 3.