AS THE days and weeks tick by, the likelihood of Donegal’s Ulster SFC clash with Tyrone going ahead as planned on May 17 is growing ever more remote.
This morning, speaking on Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio One, the GAA’s director of player, club and games administration Feargal McGill said that while the Championship could, in theory, begin on the weekend of May 10, that now seems ‘unlikely’.
No decisions beyond the weekend of May 3 have yet been made by the GAA’s top brass, who continue to monitor the situation with the Covid-19 pandemic closely.
Leading Croke Park chief McGill confirmed the postponement of the May 2 Connacht SFC game between London and Roscommon. That follows the already-postponed New York-Galway game, which had been fixed for May 3.
At present, all sport in Ireland is shut down until at least April 19, but that date seems certain to be extended due to the coronavirus emergency that has taken a hold of the world.
“The current situation is that there’s no changes to any of our championship structures to date and they’re due to start on May 10, which is well outside the April 19 flag that the Government have planted, if you like,’ McGill said.
“So that’s still a possibility as a start date – and when that’s a possibility, we can’t really look at changing championship structures.”
“But I do have to concede it seems unlikely we’ll be back playing by then.”
McGill said the association would like to give players a two-week lead-in before a return to competitive action if possible.
The dates now being discussed look almost certain to add the Donegal-Tyrone blockbuster, due to take place at Sean MacCumhaill Park in Ballyboey, to the list of postponements.
McGill said: “The same as any sporting organisation, the key to drawing up a fixture schedule is knowing exactly how much time we’ll have to play with. And at the moment, unfortunately, we just don’t know what time is there.
“Until we know that, we can’t really make any decisions on tweaking competition structures.”
McGill said that the GAA was fully intent on retaining the current dates for the All-Ireland hurling (August 16) and football (August 30) finals, noting that the Association would do ‘everything in our power’ to make sure that happened.
He said: “I would imagine as long as we can start our inter-county championships before the middle of June, then we should be able to retain those dates.
“And why that’s important to us … we don’t just have the inter-county championships and leagues to consider. We also have obviously the club situation in the 32 counties as well, and they have to be allowed enough time to complete their competitions also.
“It’s a little bit more complicated for us, I guess, than for other sports on the one hand because we have the club games. But, on the other hand, we’re not professional where people aren’t under contracts, etc, so it is a little bit easier perhaps to get the thing back up and running whenever we do get the green light to do so.”
The GAA has not yet made a decision on the competition of the Allianz Leagues or on altering the structure and schedule of the Championships.Tags: