The GAA confirmed on Tuesday that the senior inter-county championships, which were scheduled to begin in May with Fermanagh having been due to play Down in Brewster Park in the Ulster SFC on May 24, have been postponed until further clarity on the situation is available but are unlikely to be rescheduled any time before the beginning of July, at the earliest.

There is also a postponement to the Fermanagh hurlers Lory Meagher campaign. Joe Baldwin’s side were scheduled to begin their championship with an away game against Louth on May 17, followed by a home game against Cavan a week later before concluding the group phase at home to Lancashire at the start of June.

The GAA have also stated that they intend to complete the Allianz National Leagues where possible while they stress that when sporting activities recommence, the GAA aim to accommodate both club and county games.

Fermanagh senior football manager Ryan McMenamin says that they expected the championship to be pushed back until July but he is unsure about when they are going to fit the end of the league in.

“We expected championship not to start to July at the earliest but the thing that sticks out for me is that the league is to be finished and we still have no clarity as to when they will fit that in.

“They have said they want to play games that have a bearing on next year’s divisions but in Division Two that is going to be all the games and it is a tough ask to fit that in. They could be asking us to finish the league after the championship but I don’t know how it will work.

“I would say though the news gives the players a bit of focus that the championship will hopefully be in July and I would imagine that club football will come around before that,” said McMenamin.

The GAA have said that the extension of government restrictions in the Republic of Ireland has been factored into their contingency plans.

“The GAA acknowledges last weekend’s Government announcement of the extension of current restrictions until May 5 and its impact on the scheduling of sporting events and working practices, and has factored the extension of the arrangements into its contingency planning.

“To that end, the Association can confirm that club activity remains suspended until May 5,” a statement read.

“The Senior inter-county championships, scheduled to begin in May, will be postponed until further clarity on the current situation is available.

“However, it is the Association’s view that it is highly unlikely these will be rescheduled any time before the beginning of July, at the earliest.

“When sporting activity recommences, the GAA will accommodate both club and county games. The Association also intends to complete the Allianz Leagues, or at least those games that have a bearing on next year’s divisions, where possible.”

The GAA will also remotely hold a Special Congress tomorrow (Friday) “to propose decision-making flexibility to allow us vary competition structures, if required, in advance of resuming games.”

McMenamin is hopeful though that the Ulster Championship will go ahead this summer.

“I would still think there will be an Ulster Championship but I’m not sure about the Super 8s or the Tier Two. I would see it being run off as quick as possible but you just don’t know that at the minute,” he said.

The GAA continued by saying that it will continue to make decisions “based on the advice of the medical professionals and the government.”

Further to this, Ulster GAA confirmed on Tuesday that the Buncrana Cup (U16 Football League) and the Dale Farm Protein Milk Ulster Minor Football League have been cancelled with immediate effect.

The 2020 Electric Ireland Ulster GAA Minor Football Championship will now revert to a straight knockout format and that the draw will mirror the Ulster Senior Football Championship draw to form curtain raisers if, or when, it is deemed suitable. That would mean that Maurice McLaughlin’s Fermanagh minor outfit will host Down at Brewster Park prior to the senior meeting between the sides.

McLaughlin feels that the announcement gives his squad something to aim for now that they have no league to compete in.

“We are in very strange times and it is at a time that sport is secondary to what is happening in general in society but having said all that, sport and the GAA in general plays such a huge part in Irish society and covers so many of our people and our young people.

“So, yesterday’s announcement would be welcome in the sense that, from our perspective of minors, it would give the guys something to aim for,” he said.




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