Challenges remain to finish GAA fixtures within calendar year

GAA president John Horan has said the hurling and football championships could run into 2021, but Anthony Daly believes that “would be a disaster.”
Challenges remain to finish GAA fixtures within calendar year
Questions remain about completing games in time to start afresh in 2021.

Completing the Allianz League group stages may yet form part of the GAA’s inter-county return to play roadmap, which is now expected to be revealed this month.

While the GAA launched its overall plan for a safe return to play last week, its Covid-19 Advisory Group is now preparing a ‘Return to Play’ template for inter-county players. A format and schedule for the 2020 inter-county calendar could follow.

GAA president John Horan has said the hurling and football championships could run into 2021, but Anthony Daly believes that “would be a disaster.”

Speaking on the Irish Examiner GAA Podcast, Dalo said: “I just think it would dilute the whole meaning of the All-Ireland if it’s not played in the calendar year. Even if we have to play the All-Ireland on the 21st of December shopping weekend in Dublin.

The football is a worry, because I’ve heard they are talking about two rounds of the league when they go back in October. But if we’ve an All-Ireland on the second of February, the good goes out of it. And no-one loves the All-Ireland final day more than I do.

“And it would ruin the coursing in Clonmel. You can’t interfere with the coursing. The hurling starts after the coursing.”

Joining him on the podcast, TJ Ryan also wants a pre-Christmas finish.

“I think it’s a 2020 problem and the solution should be a 2020 solution. I think it should be done and dusted. If you take it into January or February you are going to interfere majorly with the calendar for next year.

“I think there is enough scope there. And I think 11 weeks is enough for any county to run their club championship.

“If Cork were in an All-Ireland hurling final in August, they might only have nine weeks for their club championship anyway.

“You would squeeze it in. I think the solution has to put in for inter-county from October 17 to Christmas and then you can start afresh.”

Cork GAA indicated this week it will wait for the inter-county plan before finalising its schedule. But with little wriggle room, Ryan did raise one novel prospect for the coming club season.

“Could we see potentially a county final decided on penalties?”

For just one year, Dalo could live with that: “We watch all sports, we’d often be dreaming watching the World Cup final that nobody scores in extra-time, so we can get penalties.

“I also believe in giving fellas a second chance, but wouldn’t it be massive drama for one year?”

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