GPA backs two-week ‘breathing space’ ahead of return to play

GPA backs two-week ‘breathing space’ ahead of return to play

The Gaelic Players Association (GPA) have indicated their support for the GAA’s plans to give inter-county teams a two-week lead-in ahead of the resumption of games.

GAA director of club, player and games administration Feargal McGill said it would be intention of the GAA to give a period for collective training when the action returns after the coronavirus precautions have lifted.

“We’d like to give teams a fortnight breathing space if at all possible before asking them to come back into competitive action,” continued McGill.

“If we can get up and running by the middle of June, then I think we’ll be able to hold onto our All-Ireland final dates.”

That action could yet take the form of outstanding league games to confirm promotion and relegation places so as to avoid a straight run into Championship.

A GPA spokesperson indicated they wouldn’t have any difficulty with a 14-day collective preparation period. “We all need to be agile and flexible to work through this difficult time and do the best we can to get through it together.”

The GPA have been working closely with the GAA on a number of issues such as getting the message out about the coronavirus precautions that need to be taken. 

We’ve had very positive and ongoing engagement with the GAA and it’s important we continue to do so to prepare for all eventualities as nobody knows when there will be a return to action.

The spokesperson continued: “We’re currently going through an unprecedented situation in the country that is impacting on all parts of Irish life including Gaelic games. The response from the wider GAA community has been a united approach with, at all times, the health and safety of our communities as the key priority and following the HSE and government advice.

“Players, clubs, counties and Croke Park have all stepped up to the mark in this regard and need to continue to lead in the weeks ahead.”

It’s expected that all expenses due to inter-county players including mileage and nutrition up to the end of this month will be distributed to them in the coming week.

Meanwhile, Kerry’s Ruaidhrí Ó Beaglaoich has been announced as Munster’s Eirgrid U20 best footballer for 2020.

The An Ghaeltacht man scored five points as the Kingdom turned over Cork in the provincial final earlier this month. Not surprisingly, John Sugrue picked up the manager’s award for leading the team to the title.

In Leinster, Lorcan O’Dell of Dublin picked up the individual gong while Galway’s Cathal Sweeney and Tyrone’s Cormac Munroe were acknowledged in Connacht and Ulster respectively. 

Like Sugrue, managers Tom Gray (Dublin), Donal Ó Flatharta (Galway) and Paul Devlin (Tyrone) were honoured in their provinces. It’s the second successive year Gray and Devlin have been feted.

Elsewhere, the GAA’s management committee are set to convene today. 

Coiste Bainistí will discuss the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the organisation as well as potential difficulties as a result of the cessation since March 12.

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