GAA chiefs are less optimistic about the inter-county championships taking place this year. Central Council delegates were informed yesterday that the chances of the provincial and All-Ireland competitions going ahead have disimproved since the end of June when the Central Competitions Control Committee’s revised plan was unveiled.
At the virtual meeting, officials said the prospect of the championships be played from October to December was being assessed on a week by week basis, while no assurances could be given about crowd numbers at games being increased from 200 from August 31.
The 26 county boards in the Republic of Ireland were also reminded that they themselves can apply for the Sport Ireland grant scheme. Croke Park will assist them in making the requests for part of the €40 million Covid-19 resilience package to be split between the GAA, FAI and IRFU.
Central Council also endorsed management committee’s special powers for another two months. The current period of their emergency authority elapses on August 27 but the motion passed by Special Congress allowed it to be extended by another eight weeks.
Meanwhile, it was clarified that a pass back to the goalkeeper will result in a 13 metre free, not a penalty. It had been suggested that the infraction would be a penalty if the goalkeeper was standing inside the large parallelogram when receiving the ball from a team-mate directly after his kick-out. However, it has since been cleared up that the infringement will be a free-in.
Elsewhere, Offaly chairman Michael Duignan has addressed clubs as they face into a second weekend without games due to heavier Covid-19 restrictions. Admitting he was taken aback by the Government’s decision, Duignan wrote: “I just wish to acknowledge the very difficult situation we all find ourselves in since last Friday. We are very appreciative of the massive efforts made by all our clubs over the past few months and in particular your understanding and cooperation since activities recommenced.
“You have followed the protocols and embraced the many changes and challenges thrown at you in an exemplary fashion and for that a massive thanks. We were all shocked when told to cease activities again and it has taken me personally a couple of days to absorb the disappointment.
“My thoughts are particularly with our players, of all ages, as the clubs have been buzzing over the last few weeks and there has been massive interest in attending games and watching via our streaming service.”
Duignan thanked clubs with floodlights whose facilities will be “in particular demand” as soon as games in Offaly are permitted to return. Central Council also endorsed management committee’s special powers for another two months.