The GAA are set to announce their intentions for the 2020 Allianz Leagues with the competition widely expected to be culled.
A GAA statement is expected on Wednesday following the declaration by the Government to extend coronavirus restrictions beyond this Sunday and ban all sports events until April 19. However, a decision regarding the leagues may not be revealed until later in the week following another convening of county chairpersons.
After speaking with chairs via teleconference last Friday, GAA director general Tom Ryan held another with county secretaries on Tuesday where it was confirmed the boards would shortly receive revenue from the incompleted leagues. That might suggest the competitions will be discontinued although the monies are simply being distributed so as to provide a cash flow for county boards.
However, a call on the National League is believed to be imminent as the GAA season is set to lose at least six weekends, three which had been scheduled for the final stages of the league and three for club action.
The Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) have already announced that with one round remaining of their Lidl National Leagues they have chosen to annul the competition for this season.
The difficulty for the GAA is an abandoning of the Allianz Leagues would have a knock-on effect for the new secondary football competition, the Tailteann Cup, which was to comprise those Division 3 and 4 counties who do not reach their respective provincial final.
A cancellation of the league could save Meath’s footballers from Division 1 relegation. Of the six demotion places, they and Louth in Division 3 are the only teams confirmed for the drop.
None of the six promotion slots are filled yet although Cork likely needed just one more point to make a quick return to Division 2 and thus avoid the Tailteann Cup. A reset of the League could mean they will find themselves in Division 3 again next year having to win promotion to ensure they at least play in the Sam Maguire Cup qualifiers.
In hurling, Carlow lost the Division 1 relegation play-off to Westmeath but the Division 2 promotion final between Antrim and Kerry scheduled for last Sunday week was called off as a result of the suspension.
The GAA may yet stage those outstanding league games later in the year but finding time for them when club championship action has yet to take place will be difficult. At the teleconference, one county secretary is understood to have asked if counties should go ahead with drawing up rearranged fixture programmes but was advised that to do so would be premature at this point in time.
Meanwhile, the LGFA confirmed they chose to mark their primary spring competition as well as others null and void as a result of the coronavirus crisis. There was one round remaining in the four divisions with Galway and Cork sitting on top of Division 1 with 12 points.
Their press release read: “In light of the Covid-19 outbreak, the prime concern for the Ladies Gaelic Football Association at the present time is the health and wellbeing of our members.
“Consequently, a number of decisions have been made in respect of LGFA competitions, which have not been taken lightly. The 2020 Lidl National Leagues have been cancelled for 2020, and will not be completed.
“The Lidl Post Primary Schools Competitions have also been cancelled for 2020, along with the LGFA Interprovincial Competition, the All-Ireland U14 Championship, Féile na nÓg and Féile Skills.”
The organisation are also monitoring the All-Ireland championships. “The 2020 TG4 All-Ireland Championships will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, in line with Government regulations, while there is a possibility of provincial action in the U16 and Minor Championships, when LGFA activities resume. A number of Development programmes are also postponed until LGFA activity resumes.”