If you’re a fan of Gaelic football, you’re in for a treat this weekend. Croke Park will be buzzing with excitement as the All-Ireland semi-finals take the spotlight. You won’t have to miss a minute, thanks to the BBC’s extensive coverage across various platforms, such as BBC TV, iPlayer, and their mobile app.
The semi-final matches promise some thrilling clashes. On Saturday, we’ll be seeing a tense face-off between Dublin and Monaghan, scheduled for 5:30 pm BST.
As the excitement continues into Sunday, the reigning champions Kerry, who hold a record with 38 titles, are set to battle it out with Ulster champions, Derry, at 4:00 pm. Last year, Kerry triumphed over Galway in the grand finale at Croke Park.
The BBC’s coverage is an easy way for you to stay updated with the games. On Saturday, Sarah Mulkerrins will be hosting the live coverage of the Dublin vs. Monaghan match starting at 4:55 pm BST on both the BBC iPlayer and BBC Two Northern Ireland.
On Sunday, she’ll be back for Kerry vs. Derry, beginning at 3:30 pm on the same channels. The play-by-play commentary will be provided by Thomas Niblock for both matches. Updates straight from the field will come from Orla Bannon.
Adding to the richness of the coverage, a team of experts will be sharing their insights. This team includes Oisin McConville, Michael Murphy, and Philly McMahon. Gaelic football management veteran, Mickey Harte, and ex-Derry player, Conleith Gilligan, will also be lending their expertise.
Additionally, you can track the progress of the semi-finals on the BBC Sport website and app, where both games will be streamed. You can also read the live text commentaries and watch in-play clips, as well as catch post-match analysis and reactions. Match reports and highlight reels of both games will be available after the final whistle.
Additional Game Coverage
There’s more coverage lined up for you during the week leading up to the semi-finals, including Michael Murphy’s column on the upcoming games. The GAA Social Extra has already set the ball rolling, with Oisin McConville sharing his predictions about Derry and Monaghan upsetting the favorites in the semi-finals. Detailed pre-game analyses including the team news will be available on Friday.
The Journey to the Title
Let’s take a moment to look back at how the teams made it this far. After winning their respective provincial championships, Derry, Dublin, and Kerry rose to the top of their Super 16s groups, leading them to the quarter-finals. Although their performances seemed a bit shaky, they held on.
Kerry had a setback with a loss to Mayo in the group stage opener but managed to make a comeback with a marginal victory over Cork and a decisive win against Louth. This got them the top spot in Group One. They showed their true strength in the quarter-finals, where they overwhelmingly defeated Tyrone.
Derry had a great start, crushing Monaghan in the Ulster semi-final, and were being seen as potential champions. However, they faced an unexpected challenge when their manager Rory Gallagher abruptly left the team after being accused of domestic abuse on social media. Under the leadership of assistant coach Ciaran Meenagh, they overcame Armagh in a nail-biting Ulster Final and managed to scrape through the Super 16s, ultimately defeating Cork in the quarter-finals.
Dublin didn’t start off their campaign impressively as well. They barely managed to beat Kildare with a score of 0-14 to 0-12 in the Leinster semi-final, although they bounced back by trouncing Louth 5-21 to 0-15 in the provincial championship.
Throughout the tournament, Dublin’s performance remained inconsistent, stirring up concern among fans. They could only manage a draw against Roscommon in their Group Three opener after lagging four points behind at half-time. Yet, they pulled off easy wins against Kildare and Sligo. These wins solidified their position in the quarter-finals.
The subsequent matches saw a remarkable turnaround for Dublin as they seemed to recapture the commanding form that had led them to six back-to-back All-Ireland titles from 2015 to 2020. Their unforgiving second-half performance eliminated Mayo, who were widely anticipated to win their first All-Ireland title since 1951.
Monaghan, on the other hand, are the unexpected contenders in the semi-finals. Despite winning their opening match against Tyrone in the Ulster Championship, not many were betting on them for a long run, especially after their disappointing performance against Derry in the provincial semi-final.
However, they pulled themselves together, drawing against a struggling Derry team in the Super 16 opener. A subsequent victory over Clare helped them reach the top 12, even after losing their final Group Four game against Donegal.
In an adrenaline-filled moment, Conor McCarthy’s point at the last minute helped them narrowly beat Kildare 1-11 to 0-13 in their preliminary quarter-final. Monaghan continued their impressive journey by defeating Armagh in a penalty shootout on 1st July, sealing their unexpected place in the semi-finals.
So, what can we expect this weekend?
It might be a tall order for the football teams to match the intensity seen in last weekend’s All-Ireland Hurling Semi-Finals. However, Monaghan and Derry will be aiming to defy the odds, even though it appears likely that we’ll see a revival of the age-old rivalry between Kerry and Dublin on the day of the All-Ireland Final.
Despite their less-than-impressive performance during the provincial and Super 16 campaigns, both Kerry and Dublin seem to have hit their stride during the knockout stage of the tournament two weeks ago. If they can replicate that form, it will indeed be a tough ride for the two teams from Ulster.
Nevertheless, Derry supporters are hoping that their team has kept something up their sleeve for the upcoming games and will bring back the energy and enthusiasm that marked their nearly flawless performance against Monaghan in the Ulster semi-final in late April.
Monaghan fans, on the other hand, will find comfort in remembering their last match against Dublin, about 16 months ago at Clones. It was there that Jack McCarron scored a crucial last-minute point, leading Monaghan to a dramatic victory and securing their place in Division One, while Dublin was demoted to Division Two.
Historically, Dublin is the second most successful team in the All-Ireland Football Championship, with 30 titles, trailing Kerry’s record by eight. Derry’s only victory came 30 years ago when they beat Cork at Croke Park. For Monaghan, their only All-Ireland Final appearance dates back to 1930 in a loss against Kerry.
When is the GAA All-Ireland Final?
The climactic finale of the GAA All-Ireland Football Championship is set to take place on Sunday, 30th July. The exact kick-off time is yet to be confirmed, but eager fans should mark their calendars for an exhilarating day of high-stakes football. This crowning event will be held at the historic Croke Park.
The BBC will be providing extensive coverage of the final match, both on BBC TV and iPlayer, so viewers can easily tune in to the thrilling action.