This year will bring the strangest All-Ireland Championships in living memory, with the competitions starting five months later than normal and likely taking place entirely without fans given the country is in near full lockdown until early December. GAA action is shown free in Ireland on RTE. Need an GAA VPN?
The Hurling Championship began last weekend with a game apiece in Leinster and Munster but this weekend there’s a full schedule, and the Football Championship starts at full gear.
In Hurling, it’s the provincial semi-final weekend with both Leinster and Munster giving us both semi-finals to enjoy. Starting in Leinster where Dublin comfortably overcame Laois last weekend to set up a clash with the mighty Kilkenny. While there can be no doubt that Kilkenny are not at the same level they were between 2000 and 2015, when they claimed an incredible 11 All-Ireland titles. Fun Fact: ‘GAA VPN’ is one of the most searched sports phrases on Google!
Kilkenny indeed have failed to win any of the last three Leinster titles, with Wexford being crowned provincial Champions last year after Connacht natives Galway claimed the 2017 and 2018 titles.
Dublin, who last claimed the Leinster crown in 2013, are the massive underdogs in this match but will come into the game with nothing to lose, and plenty of confidence after the Laois victory.
The other semi-final will see Galway face Wexford in what should be an absolutely fantastic game between two very strong teams. They played out a 16 point apiece draw last season in the Leinster Championship group stage. Galway had previously won back to back Leinster titles and were All-Ireland Champions in 2017 before losing the final in 2018. Wexford would go on to win Leinster before losing to Tipperary in a classic tussle in the All-Ireland semi-finals.
The purists would prefer to see Galway back in a full-on Connacht Championship but it has to be said that their addition to the mix in Leinster has massively strengthen the competition.
Both of those games will take place on Saturday, as will the first of the Munster semi-finals. That match pits Cork against Waterford in what some people expect to be a battle of the also-rans in this years competition. Cork did win back to back Munster titles in 2017 and 2018 but could not capitalise and win an All-Ireland title, losing to Munster rivals in the semi-finals both years.
Waterford have not claimed provincial glory since 2010, and have not tasted All-Ireland success since 1959. They did make it to the final in 2017, beating Cork in the semi-final before falling to Galway. Waterford are arguably the weakest team left in Munster but can take heart from a strong league campaign, that saw them beat Cork by 1 point in the opening round of fixtures.
On the other side of the bracket, the 2019 All Ireland Champions Tipperary will take on the 2018 All-Ireland Champions Limerick. These teams met in last year’s Munster final with Limerick winning a fantastic match. Everyone outside of Kilkenny was upset when the Cats beat Limerick in the All-Ireland semi-final to deny the viewing public a Tipp vs Limerick rematch in the final.
Limerick ran out two point winners in their league meeting this year, and indeed went on to win the 2020 National Hurling League title, beating Clare last weekend in a match that doubled as a Munster Championship quarter-final. Matches between these two teams have been of the highest calibre in recent years, and this Sunday should provide another belter.
The winners of the semi-finals will meet in two weeks time to contest the provincial finals, while the losers will drop into the qualifiers and try to work their way into the All-Ireland quarter finals.
While Hurling has a small field of competitors, Football has no such issue and this weekend each of the four provincial battles kick off. Two of the provinces gives us games between teams that will likely fall into the also-ran category come seasons end, but there should still be some cracking games of football.
Starting on Saturday, we have Waterford vs Limerick from Munster, and Monaghan vs Cavan in Ulster. Arguably the weakest teams in each of their provinces, the Munster draw has presented a rare opportunity where the winner of this game will face the winner of Tipperary vs Clare on Sunday. All four of those teams will fancy their chances of advancing to the final as there is very little to seperate them. It’s a strange move by the organisers in Munster, as Cork vs Kerry is a marquee game deserving of the final, rather than a semi-final with the winners facing a lower calibre opponent.
The Ulster bracket has done Monaghan and Cavan a favour as well as the winner will face Antrim, rather than one of the powerhouses. Cavan are in disastrous form but will be hoping to repeat last year’s performance which saw them advance to the Ulster final. Traditional rivals, this match will be strange without fans in attendance.
Sunday brings a full card, with all four provinces seeing games. Connacht offers Leitrim against Mayo, a match which will see Mayo attempt to retain their All-Ireland contender status that has seen them reach eight All-Ireland semi-finals between 2011 and 2019, including four losing final appearances. It’s one of the great shames in the history of Gaelic Football that a golden generation of Mayo footballers have not managed to bring Sam Maguire home to The Yew County
The race to see who will lose to Dublin in the Leinster final kicks off in earnest with Louth facing Longford, Wexford meeting Wicklow and Offaly hosting Carlow. In truth, these teams have about as much chance of winning the All-Ireland as they do of being the site of the next NASA launch, but it’s a big day for all six counties and hopefully they produce entertaining matches.
The second Munster quarter final pits Tipperary against Clare in a game that would be of far more interest if it was in Hurling.
But Ulster does provide some very promising games with Donegal facing Tyrone and Derry battling Armagh.
Donegal vs Tyrone pits the two favourites for the Ulster crown against each other. Between them, they have won each of the last four titles, with Donegal claiming victory in 2018 and 2019 after Tyrone had taken the title in 2016 and 2017. They have faced off in Ulster in three of those years, with Tyrone claiming victory in both 2016 and 2017. Tyrone would also come out on top in 2018 when the teams met in the All-Ireland series.
The winner of this match will fancy themselves to go forward and represent their province in the All-Ireland semi-finals, a stage both sides have become familiar with. Tyrone may have extra motivation, having lost at the All-Ireland semi-final stage last year, and in the final in 2018. Indeed, given they have gone further than Donegal in each of the last four years, either through winning Ulster or the backdoor system, they will likely view themselves as the team to beat.
Gaelic Football and Hurling are two of the most exciting and entertaining sports in the world. The GAA has largely done a good job at staging them. They’ve made them a spectacle. But they’ve also priced out the fans at times, and made controversial decisions with regards to broadcasting rights. If you’re outside of the Republic of Ireland and want to watch the matches on RTE player, the GAA don’t want you to be able to, unless you invest in the very expensive GAA GO subscription service. Obviously those with an Irish internet service (in Ireland), will be able to access the RTE Player and have uninterrupted access from anywhere.
How to watch every GAA games from anywhere…
GAA games for the 2020 season will be streamed live on the RTE Player website, as well as their respective apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, Smart TV, Now TV, FireTV etc.
But these streaming services are not available to everyone, for example when you load RTE Player in the USA, Germany, UK, Netherlands, France, Spain, Portugal, Australia, Dubai, Canada etc. you will get an error message.
We’re sorry but RTE Player is currently only available to viewers in the Republic of Ireland and Norther Ireland.
This is basically because their streaming services are geoblocked based on the IP address being used to access it. You must be a Irish domestic web user to access RTE Player and RTE Sport live tv streaming.
- Get an Irish IP address.
- If you want to watch on your Windows PC, Mac, FireTV, iPhone, iPad or Android then you can get a UK Proxy or VPN Apps from Liberty Shield, FREE for 48 hours and then from only £6.99 per month.
- Prefer to watch on supported media streaming devices like Now TV, Smart TVs, Apple TV, Xbox, PS4, Roku etc? You’ll need a UK configured VPN Router setup as Irish, available from only £19.99 with Worldwide Shipping available.
Furthermore; RTE Player isn’t the only geographically-censored streaming services a VPN or Proxy will allow you to access. Other Irish services like TV3 and TG4 are also available. Plus with the option to switch to our USA service whenever you like, you can access Hulu, HBO GO, Netflix and Pandora. Essentially you can access international content from virtually anywhere!