Munster GAA chief executive Kieran Leddy has maintained the provincial championships retain “a very strong place” in the GAA.
Leddy was speaking in the wake of GAA president John Horan’s claim on Sunday that the competitions stand in the way of fixtures reform.
Horan said: “One of the big challenges is to tackle the monster that is the traditional feature of the GAA that is the provincial championships. Ulster and Munster you’d find it very hard to move in terms of the Munster hurling championship and the Ulster football championship.”
Leddy doesn’t believe Horan has as dim a view of the provincial championships as his quote may have portrayed. “I wouldn’t think that was quite what he meant. To be honest, I haven’t discussed it with him. Everybody respects that the provincial championships have a very strong place in the GAA calendar and as we know in Munster the Munster hurling championship is a competition that is very much looked forward to.
“To be honest, I wouldn’t be reading a whole lot into that comment. I don’t think that was quite what he meant, a monster that has to be tackled type of thing. Everyone knows any changes to the formats will be discussed by Congress and that’s the way restructuring goes and will always go.
“Until then, everyone is entitled to an opinion as to what competitions should and maybe shouldn’t look like. I imagine there will be discussions on this in the months and years ahead and we will just have to see how it plays out.”
How Munster go about reformatting their championships will be dictated by what the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) decide in the coming weeks. On the basis of the timeframes provided, their own competitions control committee can begin to work on draws and schedules.
“Once the dates are set and the competition formats are agreed we can start to look at our own fixtures,” Leddy stated. “I imagine there will be a lot happening in the next number of weeks but the first thing we have to look at is the amount of time available to us and what competition we can run in that time. We’ll be starting with the CCCC in Croke Park and take it from there then.”
Leddy acknowledged there are plenty of challenges ahead such as organising minor and U20 championships during secondary school and university terms.
“In 2020, we will have lost four of the best months for playing our games. I think it’s going to be a case of having less time available but we’re just going to have to put in place formats at all levels that facilitate everyone to play their competitions. The year is going to be like no other in terms of fixtures schedules and we know that for a fact.”
Meanwhile, Leitrim chairman Enda Stentson has claimed Horan eased his stance on social distancing stopping Gaelic games having been convinced by medical advice. “With the proper discussions from the health people, I think John Horan kind of relaxed his position a bit, it was kind of outlined where the safety aspect could come into this,” Stentson told Shannonside FM.