GAA hopeful that adult club training will resume in May

THE GAA ARE hopeful that all adult club training in the 26 counties can resume in May.

Inter-county training has been permitted to resume on 19 April with non-contact juvenile training allowed from 26 April.

Club training in Northern Ireland can resume on April 12, though no timeline has been given to clubs down south yet.

“There is no fixed date on when adult club training can resume but it is hoped that this might follow soon after some time in May if government permits,” the Association said in the April edition of their monthly newsletter.

At last night’s Cork county board meeting, president Larry McCarthy told the delegates that he believes the GAA’s handling of the inter-county and juvenile returns will likely influence the government’s decision on a resumption date for adult club activity.

The current restrictions are in place until 4 May, when the government will look at potential changes for the rest of the month. 

Pressure has come on the government to allow outdoor sport take place following the publication of figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre that found just 0.1% of Covid-19 cases are traced to outside transmissions.

Over the weekend, McCarthy said his aim is to get the “clubs back as quickly as is feasible.”

The GAA are set to unveil their roadmap for the 2021 inter-county and club seasons on Thursday, following consultation with county boards.

It’s expected the inter-county leagues will resume in the middle of next month, with hurling possibly starting a week earlier than football on the weekend of 8-9 May.

The Irish Examiner reported that Division 1 and 2 hurling county managers and players have been consulted about the possibility of a three-week pre-season leading into a five-game league campaign. The regionalised football leagues would start a week later.

Both hurling and football All-Irelands are expected to run off in straight knockout provincial formats, with a backdoor anticipated for the small ball code.

Feargal McGill also told counties it is the Central Competitions Control Committee’s intention to leave a 13-day gap between the league and championship campaigns.

A conclusion to the inter-county action by August would leave an exclusive club window from September to December. It’s anticipated club leagues will be underway by June or July.

The big issues to be revealed by the GAA in this week’s roadmap are when the 11 outstanding 2020 club championships can take place. There are also last year’s minor hurling and football, plus U20 hurling competitions still to be completed.

Of particular interest in the roadmap will be the plans for this year’s minor and U20 inter-county championships. The Association have already stated that provincial and All-Ireland club competitions are set to run into 2022.

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The newsletter also urged members to hold firm as the return of games approaches.

“Breaches at club and county level in recent weeks have brought the spotlight on our Association and threaten to undermine the significant work done by the majority of members in the face of the pandemic,” it added. 

The day after a similar call was made last week, a group of Dublin players were photographed at an illegal collective training session. Manager Dessie Farrell was hit with a 12-week ban by his county board following a brief investigation.

The Cork county board confirmed last night that a committee has been established to investigate in relation to an alleged training breach by a GAA club in west Cork.  

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