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Corofin's Jason Leonard in action during the AIB All Ireland Club Final in January.
Corofin's Jason Leonard in action during the AIB All Ireland Club Final in January.

Club action to be afforded significant window

By Cian O’Connell

County Boards throughout the country will have an 11 week window for club activity before inter-county matches commence in mid October.

That was one of the chief decisions taken by the members of the Covid 19 Advisory Group when putting together the ‘Safe Return to Gaelic Games’ document which was released on Friday evening.

At a press briefing to discuss the report GAA Director of Player, Club and Games Administration Fergal McGill stressed that it is up to individual counties to organise the structure of their own competitions. That doesn’t mean a knockout Championship has to be implemented according to McGill.

“What we have done is created a window, it is 11 weeks if you count them, 11 weeks for the club player,” McGill commented.

“We have also put the club player first in line. It will fall down to counties about how to use those 11 weeks.

“They might be planning a straight knockout Championship, but if they are they are certainly factoring in extra games as well. Frankly I think it is a complete misnomer.

“I think we are presented with a particular problem here, a shortened calendar and we can't deliver everything we would like to deliver to either county player or club player.

“So everyone is going to have to just take a small bit of understanding about what we are trying to do and take a small bit of pain if you'd like. I'd certainly say the club players are to front in this, I would absolutely say that, as a club player by the way.”

“It is a matter for each county as to how they will run their Club Championships. It is up to them to come up with their structures. In terms of the inter-county Championship, the CCC will come up with something.

GAA President John Horan also remarked that ‘there is no drive to have knockout’ in County Championships throughout Ireland.

“I already spoke to a county secretary this afternoon and the plan in that county is to have a round robin where each will have three matches, then a quarter final, semi final, and a final,” Horan added. “That is totally in order, there is no drive to have knockout.”

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