GAA weigh up staging club before inter-county season in 2021

Central Council discusses 'flipping' the seasons in 2021, with club played first. Moolick retires from inter-county action with Kildare
GAA weigh up staging club before inter-county season in 2021

TIPPING POINT: The GAA is considering putting its club programme first in 2021 amid concerns that large crowds may still be prohibited at inter-county fixtures in the opening months of the year. Tipp boss Liam Sheehy is among those who supports club before inter-county in 2021.

THE GAA won’t make a decision on the 2021 calendar until next month as they weigh up the possibility of commencing the club season before county.

It had been expected the county period would commence in late February with the Allianz Leagues based on split football divisions and the hurling competition remaining the same but for reduced knockout stages.

The Championship, based on the qualifier system, would then start in late April before finishing in July before the county club championships take place in late summer and earlier autumn.

However, GAA leaders may now recommend the exclusive club window precede county as there are doubts about meaningful crowds returning to games in the first half of 2021.

With the organisation making a variety of cuts and requiring a Government grant to stage the Championships, the issue of gate receipts is a considerable factor for the GAA. Delaying the inter-county season until such time as supporters can go to games in sizeable numbers may be required.

The Club Players Association have already backed the proposal to organise the county period before the club, although a number of prominent GAA figures such as Tipperary senior hurling manager Liam Sheedy have supported club going first.

Central Council today heard the latest on discussions between the GAA and GPA. It is expected that the fundraising dinners held by the official inter-county players' body in the US will now be a joint effort between the organisations with a portion of the money raised to be given to local GAA bodies.

Although there were some claims from counties that the changes to the under-age grades require a further vote, Croke Park officials that the uneven grades - U13, U15, U17 - are the primary levels now.

The GAA hopes to receive more information about when they can stage the outstanding U20 football final, the U20 hurling championship and both minor championships from the Government earlier next week.

Meanwhile Kildare midfielder Tommy Moolick has announced his retirement from inter-county football after nine years with the Lilywhites.

Moolick tweeted Saturday: "Over and out. Memories that will last a lifetime," with Kildare GAA officials paying their own tribute: "Kildare GAA would like to send our best wishes to Tommy Moolick on his retirement from inter-county football. Tommy made his debut with the senior team in 2011 and was a vital member of the U21 team that won the Leinster U21 Championship in 2013."

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