National Football League (Ireland)

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National Football League
Current season or competition:
2016 National Football League
AllianzLeaguesLogo2011.png
Irish Sraith Náisiúnta Peile
Code Gaelic football
Founded 1925–26
Region Ireland (GAA)
Trophy Irish National Insurance Cup
No. of teams 32
Title holders Dublin (12th title)
First winner Laois
Most titles Kerry (19 titles)
Sponsors Allianz
TV partner(s) TG4
Setanta Sports
Motto The world belongs to those who dare.

The National Football League (NFL; Irish: Sraith Náisiúnta Peile) is an annual Gaelic football competition between the senior county teams of Ireland plus London. Sponsored by Allianz, it is officially known as the Allianz National Football League.

The Gaelic Athletic Association organises the league. The winning team receives the New Ireland Cup, presented by the New Ireland Assurance Company. The National Football League is the second most prestigious inter-county Gaelic Football competition after the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship.[1]

Unlike many league competitions in sport, each team plays the other teams in their division only once. Teams that meet in the same division over the course of a number of years often play on a home and away basis in alternative years, though this is not strictly adhered to. Once the divisional matches have been played, the latter stages of the league become a knockout competition for the top teams in each division. This is seen as good preparation for the upcoming All-Ireland Championship and there is usually more intensity to the division finals than those played earlier in the league, but still lacking the intensity of Championship matches.

Dublin, the reigning league champions, defeated Kerry in the 2016 league final.

History[edit]

The National Football League was first held in 1925–26, thirty-eight years after the first All-Ireland Senior Football Championship. Laois won the inaugural National Football League. The NFL has traditionally played second fiddle to the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, with most counties using it as preparation for that event. This was not helped by the fact that the League was initially played in winter (usually November–March), while the Championship had the more attractive summer dates and knockout structure.

Mayo dominated the early NFL, winning seven titles in eight seasons until the tournament was suspended during the Second World War. For many seasons in the 50's and 60's, the winners of the "home" league played New York in the NFL final; the journey to New York formed an additional prize for the winners. New York won three of these finals.

In 2002, the league was changed to a February–April calendar. This has increased interest, boosted attendances and led to live games being broadcast on TG4. The 2009 season was broadcast live on Setanta Sports. Coverage of the 2010 finals in Croke Park saw TG4 become the most watched channel, with 650,000 viewers tuning in to watch some of the games. The Division 1 final had an average audience of 220,000 viewers.[2]

The National Football League winners receive the Irish National Insurance Cup, first presented to Kerry in 1928–29. Kerry are the most successful team in the League, having played in the final on twenty-four occasions and won nineteen of these. Both of these (final appearances and wins) are records. Kerry also are the team to have most often achieved the "double", by winning both the League and All-Ireland Senior Football Championship.

Finals Listed By Year[edit]

Winners and Runners-Up Listed By County[edit]

County Wins Runners-up Winning seasons Years Runners-up
Colours of Leitrim.svg Kerry 19 5 1927–28, 1928–29, 1930–31, 1931–32, 1958–59, 1960–61, 1962–63, 1968–69, 1970–71, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1973–74, 1976–77, 1981–82, 1983–84, 1996–97, 2004, 2006, 2009 1956-57, 1964-65, 1986-87, 2008, 2016
Colours of Dublin.svg Dublin 12 12 1952–53, 1954–55, 1957–58, 1975–76, 1977–78, 1986–87, 1990–91, 1992–93, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 1925-26, 1933-34, 1940-41, 1951-52, 1961-62, 1966-67, 1974-75, 1976-77, 1987-88, 1988-89, 1998-99, 2011
Colours of Mayo.svg Mayo 11 7 1933–34, 1934–35, 1935–36, 1936–37, 1937–38, 1938–39, 1940–41, 1948–49, 1953–54, 1969–70, 2000–01 1950-51, 1970-71, 1971-72, 1977-78, 2007, 2010, 2012
Colours of Cork.svg Cork 8 6 1951–52, 1955–56, 1979–80, 1988–89, 1998–99, 2010, 2011, 2012 1931-32, 1947-48, 1978-79, 1981-82, 1996-97, 2015
Colours of Leitrim.svg Meath 7 6 1932–33, 1945–46, 1950–51, 1974–75, 1987–88, 1989–90, 1993–94 1936-37, 1938-39, 1939-40, 1949-50, 1954-55, 1955-56, 1999-2000
Colours of Cork.svg Derry 6 6 1946–47, 1991–92, 1994–95, 1995–96, 1999–2000, 2008 1958-59, 1960-61, 1975-76, 1997-98, 2009, 2014
Colours of Galway.svg Galway 4 5 1939-40, 1956-57, 1964-65, 1980-81 1965-66, 1983-84, 2000-01, 2004, 2006
Colours of Down.svg Down 4 4 1959–60, 1961–62, 1967–68, 1982–83 1962-63, 1963-64, 1969-70, 1989-90
Colours of Laois.svg New York[a] 3 7 1949–50, 1963–64, 1966–67
Colours of Tyrone.svg Tyrone 2 2 2002, 2003 1991-92, 2013
Colours of Laois.svg Laois 2 1 1925–26, 1985–86 2003
Colours of Laois.svg Cavan 1 5 1947–48 1930-31, 1932-33, 1952-53, 1959-60, 2002
Colours of Leitrim.svg Donegal 1 3 2007 1992-93, 1994-95, 1995-96
Colours of Armagh.svg Armagh 1 3 2005 1982-83, 1984-85, 1993-94
Colours of Roscommon.svg Roscommon 1 2 1978–79 1973-74, 1980/81
Colours of Offaly.svg Offaly 1 2 1997–98 1968-69, 1972-73,
Colours of Monaghan.svg Monaghan 1 1 1984–85 1985-86
Colours of Roscommon.svg Longford 1 0 1965–66
Colours of Kildare.svg Kildare 0 5 1927-28, 1928-29, 1957-58, 1967-68, 1990/91
Colours of Wexford.svg Wexford 0 3 1937-38, 1945-46, 2005
Colours of Carlow.svg Carlow 0 1 1953-54
Colours of Cork.svg Louth 0 1 1948-49
Colours of Clare.svg Clare 0 1 1946-47
Colours of Leinster Council.svg Fermanagh 0 1 1934-35

a. ^ New York received a bye to the final in 10 NFL seasons between 1949–50 and 1988–89.

The top provinces by number of wins are as follows:

Province Wins Top county Last win
1 Munster Munster 27 Kerry (19) Cork (2012)
2 Leinster Leinster 23 Dublin (12) Dublin (2016)
3 Ulster Ulster 16 Derry (6) Derry (2008)
4 Connacht Connacht 16 Mayo (11) Mayo (2000–01)
5 Overseas 3 New York (3) New York (1966–67)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Scott, Ronan (30 January 2009). "Only the league...". Gaelic Life. p. 10. 
  2. ^ "VIEWING FIGURES FOR GAA BEO - ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE FINALS 2010". TG4. 27 April 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 

External links[edit]