The GAA season for 2021 could be set for a significant change, with county boards told that there will be no resumption of any activity until April at earliest.
All Gaelic games action is currently ground to a halt, with the association’s Covid Advisory Group last week saying it would be ‘irresponsible’ for a return to play at this juncture, given the high rates of coronavirus in the country.
The group met on Wednesday evening with government representatives, with the latter confirming that intercounty action is not deemed ‘elite sport’ under Ireland’s Level 5 restrictions.
The GAA anticipates that the government’s updated ‘Living with Covid’ plan, which is to be released in the coming weeks, will provide clarity when clubs and counties will be permitted to return.
Once the plan is released, the GAA will then announce its own roadmap.
In light of the latest delay, the powers that be in Croke Park may rethink the original plan for 2021 where intercounty competitions were to be run off first.
In 2020 following the restart, club championships were given precedence, and this may become an option once again.
“As of now, the GAA have made no firm decisions on what competitions may or may not be facilitated in any revised fixture programme – such decisions will be a factor of how much time is made available to us, both for an intercounty season and for the broader participation levels that will be necessary for a meaningful club season,” wrote GAA director general Tom Ryan and president John Horan.
“We know these latest developments will come as a great disappointment to all those who are anxious to resume their Gaelic games involvement, be it on or off the field.
“While we remain in the midst of a deadly pandemic, there is significant cause for optimism that much better days lie ahead. The manner in which we have endured and overcome thus far, both as individual members and as an Association generally, has been praised by many and is a cause of great pride to us all.
“With your help we are certain that we will eventually have a fulfilling season at both club and county level in 2021, just as we had in 2020.”
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