The GAA inter-county Championship season will be delayed further following the Irish government’s decision to ban all mass gatherings of over 5000 people until at least the end of August, meaning that championships will now not begin until September at the earliest.

Last week the GAA had stated that they didn’t expect any championship games to be played until July at the earliest but with the Irish government having now moved to ban mass gatherings until the end of August it will change that plan.

“It looks as if there won’t be any inter-county championship football now until September given the Irish government’s decision yesterday (Tuesday). The GAA would hope to start club first and then inter-county, maybe in a condensed season,” said Fermanagh chairman Greg Kelly.

In terms of the inter-county championship, Kelly states that the GAA still at this stage intend to play the provincial championships while concluding relevant league games is still on the agenda.

“It is obviously going to be a truncated inter-county season, they are still hoping to play provincial championships and most likely they will carry on without the Super 8s and maybe the backdoor and just play All Ireland semi-finals and finals.

“The GAA are also hoping to get the relevant matches in the last two rounds of the National League played. If two counties get knocked out of the championship that are due to play each other in round six or seven of the National League that is relevant for promotion or relegation then they could be asked to play,” he said.

Kelly and county secretary Tom Boyle took part in a virtual meeting with Croke Park chiefs on Tuesday where club football was on the agenda.

“We were told of the protocol if you want to change structures for club competitions.

“CCC are the people who will decide on the way forward for competitions and they are having the same conference call with Tom Ryan, Bernard Smith and Fearghal McGill in Croke Park that Tom Boyle and myself had.

“Basically, if needed, CCC will make proposals to put to county committee and a full county board meeting and Croke Park would have to be notified of the changes,” he added.

And Kelly feels that when the time is right it will be vital to get club football back up and running.

“It is very important because that covers all players including county players.

“Everybody is itching to get started again, and with that rule of crowds of no more than 5000 it would make sense to start with club football whenever that may be and then hope to get county football going from September on, if possible.

“The players have to be considered too here. You have players in close proximity to each other and to play you would need the social distancing regulations relaxed at some stage.”

It is also understood that the Provincial and All Ireland Club series may be a casualty this year as counties will be given the longest possible time to conclude their own internal competitions.



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