GAA to confirm new fixture plan next week, warn against early return to training

Updated Mar 31st 2021, 12:04 PM

THE GAA WILL finalise competition structures and dates for the 2021 inter-county season by the end of next week following yesterday’s government announcement.

Collective senior inter-county training is permitted to resume from 19 April and it is expected that a regionalised National League will begin in mid-to-late May.

But in a letter to club and county secretaries last night, GAA president Larry McCarthy and director general Tom Ryan did not offer any indication of when the leagues and championships will kick-off. 

They also warned that counties who resume training early will be punished and potentially put the return to play “in serious jeopardy”.

With clubs in Northern Ireland permitted to return to training on 12 April, counties by law could also train. But Croke Park have stressed the need to comply with the collective training ban from counties in the north and south.

“These are hugely welcome developments and allow us finally to begin planning on-field activity for the remainder of 2021,” the letter co-signed from McCarthy and Ryan said.

“However, it should also be noted that these dates are conditional and will very much depend on what happens in terms of the overall COVID-19 picture in the coming weeks.

“For that reason, it is more important than ever that no collective training sessions are held between now and the Government indicated return dates. Breaches in this context will not only be dealt with under our own Rules but would likely put the broader plan to return to activity in serious jeopardy.”

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Before the 2021 master plan is unveiled next week, the GAA will seek further clarity on aspects of the return to training and games.

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“We also need to finalise competition structures and dates for the up-coming inter-county season, as well as ensuring advice is provided for all clubs in relation to how they can safely recommence underage activity (and in the case of the six counties, adult club training from 12 April),” it added.

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