THE GAA HAS confirmed that there will be no Gaelic games activity “until Easter at the earliest,” with no inter-county action permitted under Level 5 restrictions.
A letter was sent to county boards this evening following a meeting of the GAA’s Covid Advisory Group.
The Government has told that GAA that no activity will be allowed under Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions. This comes as a contrast to the permission the Government gave in 2020, where inter-county GAA was classed as elite sport, alongside others such as professional football and rugby.
Now, there will be no on-field activity whatsoever until Easter — which is Sunday, 4 April — at least.
The GAA has since published the letter on its website.
It reads: “The GAA’s Covid Advisory Group met this evening to consider the outcome of a meeting between the three Gaelic Games governing bodies (GAA, Ladies Gaelic Football Association and Camogie Association) and representatives of the lrish Government, including the Minister of State for Sport, which took place earlier this week.
“The meeting was held to brief the governing bodies on the short-term prospects for a return to training and playing of our games. The Government representatives clarified that inter-county Gaelic Games activity is not covered under the current Level 5 exemptions for elite sports.
“As such, a return to inter-county training or games is not permitted under the current restrictions. It was also clear that there will not be any change to this position post-March 5th when the restrictions currently in place are reviewed.
“It is the view of the GAA’s Covid Advisory group that no on-field activity will be permitted – training or games – until Easter at the earliest.
“In the interim, it is expected that the Government will publish an updated ‘Living with Covid’ plan and we expect that this will provide clarity on when clubs and counties are likely to be allowed return to training and games in 2021.”
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The update notes how this extended delay to the planned return of the inter-county season will have knock-on effects for plans at both inter-county and club level in 2021.
No decisions have yet been made by the GAA on what competitions may or may not be facilitated as a result in any revised fixtures programme.
As uncertainty reigns, this development could lead to big changes for the planned club/county split season.
A revised Master Fixtures Calendar, and plan for the remainder of 2021, will be prepared once a new Government roadmap is made available.
“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,” the update adds.
“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.”
– with reporting from Fintan O’Toole