THE GAA will today announce its plans for the coming year. A provincial, no-nonsense knockout All-Ireland football championship is expected again.
Less than four months after the original 2021 schedule was drafted, Fergal McGill, Director of Games Administration at Croke Park, will provide an updated version after an escalation in the public health situation has delayed the start of the season.
The counties were originally scheduled to resume training on Jan. 15 to start the National League on the last weekend in February.
However, a surge in Covid-19 cases caused those plans to stall and it was only last week that April 19 was finally set for collective training to begin.
If at least four weeks are scheduled before the season, this means that the competition measures may not take place until 15/16. May be resumed – although there are some suggestions that Divisions 1 and 2 of the National Hurling League could start a week earlier than the football equivalent.
The six inter-provincial draws are expected to take place in the coming weeks once the counties have returned to collective training.
Some of the big questions that should be answered today concern the structure of the championship and whether the GAA will proceed as planned with an abbreviated, regionalized National League, including the league final.
For reasons of time, another soccer football championship is expected in order to keep the time window for activities between the districts as tight as possible and to enable the club season from September to December.
While club training in the north may begin in groups of 15 or less on Monday, the GAA has proposed in its latest newsletter that adult club training resume in the south next month and encourages members to join its “Be Ready to Play ”and prepare a structured plan for your return in the coming weeks.
In its newsletter, the association also reminded members to hold on when the return to the game approaches. A day after a similar call last week, a group of Dublin footballers were photographed training. All-Ireland winner Dessie Farrell was subsequently banned from the Dublin County Board for 12 weeks.
“Violations at club and district level in recent weeks have put our association in the spotlight and threaten to undermine the significant work of the majority of members in the face of the pandemic,” the newsletter reads.