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Joe McDonagh Cup

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Joe McDonagh Cup
Current season or competition:
2021 Joe McDonagh Cup
IrishCorn Seosamh Mhic Dhonnacha
Founded2018; 4 years ago (2018)
RegionRepublic of Ireland Ireland (GAA)
TrophyJoe McDonagh Cup
No. of teams6
Title holdersWestmeath (1st title)
SponsorsBord Gáis Energy, Centra, Littlewoods Ireland
MottoBe there. All the way
Official websiteOfficial website

The Joe McDonagh Cup is an annual inter-county hurling competition organised by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). It forms the second tier of the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship (Senior B), and is the second highest level of inter-county championship hurling competition in Ireland. The last of the five tiers to be established, the competition was contested for the first time in 2018.[1][2][3]

Creation and history

At the GAA’s Special Congress on 30 September 2017, a new provincial hurling championship system featuring five-team round-robin groups in both Leinster and Munster was accepted. This restructure necessitated the removal of four counties from the Leinster Championship. These four teams joined the 2017 Christy Ring Cup finalists - Antrim and Carlow - in creating the new Tier 2 Championship. The proposal was carried by a narrow margin with 62% voting in favour (a majority of at least 60% was required).[4]

An amendment to the motion from Laois, Offaly and Meath was carried by 87%. This would see the two Joe McDonagh Cup finalists participating in preliminary All-Ireland quarter-finals against the third-placed team in both Leinster and Munster with the Joe McDonagh Cup teams having home advantage.[5]


The McDonagh Cup employs a round-robin system, contested within a single group of 5 county teams (6 in the inaugural year of 2018). At the completion of the round-robin, the top two teams proceed to contest the Joe McDonagh Cup final.

Aside from the trophy itself, the reward for victory in the competition depends on the provincial allegiance of the winner; if the winner is a Munster team, it will enter a promotion/relegation playoff with the bottom team in that year's Munster Senior Hurling Championship, with the winner entering the following years Munster Championship, and the loser returning to the following year's edition of the Joe McDonagh Cup. If the winner is not a Munster team, they are automatically promoted to the following year's Leinster Senior Hurling Championship, with their place in the following year's Joe Mcdonagh Cup taken by the bottom-placed team in that year's Leinster Championship.

The Joe McDonagh Cup is unique among the four lower-tier hurling competitions in that it also provides a direct entry route for the top two teams to compete in that year's All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship. The top two-placed teams after the group stage, in addition to contesting the Cup final and a possible Munster Championship promotion playoff for the winner, are both rewarded with entry into the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship at the preliminary quarter-final stage.

The bottom-placed team in the pool stage of the Cup is relegated to the third-tier Christy Ring Cup for the following year, being replaced by the champions of the Christy Ring Cup for that year. Since 2018 there has been no promotion/relegation playoff between tiers two and three.

2018-only format

In the inaugural year only, six teams participated in the Joe McDonagh Cup; four from Leinster and one each from Munster and Ulster. For that year only, the winners of that year's Christy Ring Cup played the second from bottom team in the Joe McDonagh Cup in a promotion/relegation playoff, with the loser being placed in the 2019 Christy Ring Cup along with the bottom-placed team from the 2018 Joe McDonagh Cup. The winner of that playoff was placed in the 2019 Joe McDonagh Cup. This one-off format was introduced to ease the move to a five team competition moving forward, while ensuring the third and fourth tier competitions would each have eight teams.[6]


9 county teams have participated in at least one edition of the McDonagh Cup. Kerry and Westmeath have been ever-presents in the first three editions. Down and Kildare have qualified for the 2021 edition so teams participated in the Joe McDonagh Cup will increase to 9. Offaly hold the dubious distinction of being the only team to be relegated to hurling's third-tier, having previously been relegated from the tier-one Leinster championship, in successive seasons.

Team 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Antrim 5th 3rd Winner Leinster Championship
Carlow Winner Leinster Championship 4th 4th
Down Christy Ring Cup 3rd
Kerry 3rd 4th Finalist Finalist
Kildare Christy Ring Cup 6th (relegated) Christy Ring Cup
Laois 4th Winner Leinster Championship
Meath 6th (relegated) Christy Ring Cup 5th 5th
Offaly Leinster Championship 5th (relegated) Christy Ring Cup
Westmeath Finalist Finalist 3rd Winner Leinster Championship

2022 edition

The following six teams will compete during the 2022 Joe McDonagh Cup.

Team Position
in 2021
First year in
Years in
in 2022
Antrim Leinster Championship 2018 4 1 2020
Carlow 4th 2018 4 1 2018
Down 3rd 2021 2 - -
Kerry 2nd 2018 5 - -
Meath 5th 2018 4 - -
Offaly 1st (Christy Ring) 2019 2 - -


Croke Park in Dublin, hosted the 2018 Joe McDonagh Cup final.
Croke Park in Dublin, hosted the 2018 Joe McDonagh Cup final.

Group stage

Fixtures in the five group stage rounds of the cup are played at the home ground of one of the two teams. Each team is guaranteed at least two home games. During the inaugural staging of the competition some teams had three home games.


The Joe McDonagh Cup final is played at Croke Park as the curtain-raiser to the Leinster final on the first Sunday in July.

Trophy and medals

At the end of the cup final, the winning team are presented with a trophy. The Joe McDonagh Cup is held by the winning team until the following year's final. The presentation is made at a special rostrum in the Ard Chomairle section of the Hogan Stand where GAA and political dignitaries and special guests view the match.

The cup is decorated with ribbons in the colours of the winning team. During the game the cup has both teams' sets of ribbons attached and the runners-up ribbons are removed before the presentation. The winning captain accepts the cup on behalf of his team before giving a short speech. Individual members of the winning team then have an opportunity to come to the rostrum to lift the cup.

The cup is named after Joe McDonagh. He was an All-Ireland medal winner with Galway in 1980 before later serving as President of the Gaelic Athletic Association. McDonagh, who died in May 2016, was one of the most respected figures within the GAA.[7]

The winning team is presented with a set of gold medals.

List of finals

Year Winners Score Runners-up Score Venue Winning captain(s)
2018 Carlow 2-26 Westmeath 1-24 Croke Park Richard Coady
Diarmuid Byrne
2019 Laois 3-26 Westmeath 1-21 Croke Park Patrick Purcell
2020 Antrim 0-22 Kerry 1-17 Croke Park Conor McCann
2021 Westmeath 2-28 Kerry 1-24 Croke Park
2022 Croke Park

Winners Table

# Team Won Runner-up Years won Years runner-up
Colours of Westmeath.svg
1 2 2021 2018, 2019
Colours of Carlow.svg
1 0 2018 -
Colours of Antrim.svg
1 0 2020 -
Colours of Laois.svg
1 0 2019 -
Colours of Kerry.svg
0 2 - 2020,


Wins listed by province

Province Wins Runners-up Last win Biggest contributor Wins
Flag of Leinster.svg
3 2 2021
Colours of Carlow.svg
Colours of Laois.svg
Colours of Westmeath.svg
Flag of Ulster.svg
1 0 2020 - -
Flag of Munster.svg
0 2 -
Colours of Kerry.svg
Flag of Connacht.svg
0 0 - - -

Records and statistics

Top scorers

All time

As of 26 June 2021
Pos. Name Team Goals Points Total
1 Shane Conway Kerry 3 133 142
2 Neil McManus Antrim 4 101 113
3 Ciarán Clarke Antrim 7 53 74
4 Killian Doyle Westmeath 3 61 70
5 Chris Nolan Carlow 1 49 52
6 Denis Murphy Carlow 0 50 50
Ross King Laois 2 44 50
8 Niall O'Brien Westmeath 4 27 39
9 Allan Devine Westmeath 3 29 38
Pádraig Boyle Kerry 2 32 38

By year

Final Top scorer Team Score Total
2018 Neil McManus Antrim 3-67 76
2019 Killian Doyle Westmeath 3-61 70
2020 Ciarán Clarke Antrim 4-47 59
2021 Jack Regan Meath 1-36 39

In a single game

Final Top scorer Team Score Total
2018 Neil McManus Antrim 0-17 17
2019 Killian Doyle Westmeath 0-17 17
2020 Martin Kavanagh Carlow 1-13 16
2021 Jack Regan Meath 0-17 17

In finals

Final Top scorer Team Score Total
2018 Denis Murphy Carlow 0-10 10
2019 Killian Doyle Westmeath 1-11 14
2020 Ciarán Clarke Antrim 0-11 11


  1. ^ "Hurling changes will benefit Tier 2 counties, says Westmeath boss". RTÉ News. 2 October 2017. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  2. ^ Moran, Seán (30 September 2017). "GAA Congress approve round-robin provincial hurling championships". Irish Times. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  3. ^ "GAA 2018: How the new season will look". Irish Examiner. 1 November 2017. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  4. ^ "GAA votes to change senior hurling championship". Irish Examiner. 30 September 2017. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Historic day at Croke Park as Congress votes in hurling structure changes". RTE Sport. 30 September 2017. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  6. ^ "New hurling competition to be named after Galway All-Ireland winner and ex-GAA President". The 42. 28 November 2017. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  7. ^ "New hurling competition to be named after Galway All-Ireland winner and ex-GAA President". The 42. 29 November 2017. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
This page was last edited on 11 January 2022, at 22:43
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