According to the GAA, it’s still impossible to come up with a revised Masters Fixtures calendar for 2021, but hopes remain that the inter-county games can begin in early May.
The expansion of the level 5 restrictions, coupled with confusion over government communications on sport, means the GAA will not be able to set revised dates for a return to play.
The GAA is still hoping to return in May
The association’s Covid-19 advisory group will meet in the coming days, but starting this weekend the GAA will also have a new president when Larry McCarthy succeeds John Horan.
In yesterday’s correspondence with district boards, the GAA said it would seek “clarity” on the government’s plans for resilience and recovery in 2021.
It states: “There is no immediate change for the sport that is described in the plan, but it is clear that no GAA activities in the field – not even at the district level – are permitted until Easter at the earliest.
“The GAA will seek clarity on certain aspects of the sport provisions in the new government document. While the document calls for the return of inter-county games to level 4 and some club games to level 3, it is still impossible to plan a revised master fixtures calendar for 2021 as there is no indication of when at this point these levels could begin.
“The exercise is further complicated by the need for the GAA to align their plans with the requirements of the NI county and club executive in that jurisdiction.
“In the meantime, the GAA has not decided which competitions may or may not be included in a revised National Fixture Program for 2021.
“Such decisions will be a factor in how much time will ultimately be available for both an inter-county season and the broader levels of participation required for a meaningful club season for both adults and minors.
“The next signpost on the way to society is expected to come in the week before Easter.”
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Speaking on RTÉ radio yesterday, Horan expressed his hope that there could be inter-county games in May if the teams can resume training from April 5 and spend four weeks preparing for it.
He said: “We are confident that we can get a full game program during this period.
“You saw last year that we were very flexible in how we did it.”