GAA hope to complete All Ireland Championships as Scheduled

Fergal McGill – GAA Director of Player, Club & Games Administration – has said he still hopes that the All Ireland Championships will be completed as scheduled this year.

Fergal McGill, GAA Director of Player, Club and Games Administration Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Speaking on Morning Ireland earlier this morning, McGill acknowledged the difficulties in any forward planning until there are further announcements from the government regarding a relaxation of restrictions that would allow the resumption of organised sporting activities.

“The same as any sporting organisation, the key to drawing up a fixtures schedule is knowing exactly how much time we 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.

“But the current situation is that there are no changes to any of our championship structures to date. They’re due to start on May 10 which is well outside the April 19 flag that the Government have planted, if you like.

“So that’s still a possibility as a start date. While that’s a possibility we can’t really look at changing championship structures. But I do have to concede that it seems unlikely we’ll be back playing by then.

“The next critical point for us is likely to be on the week of April 19. We’ve assumed the Government will make some kind of announcement that week. Whether it’s that we’re going to continue in this restrictive situation or that there may be some light at the end of the tunnel.

“That week we’ll be able to start planning. Either to proceed from May 10 or start looking at revised championship structures that would allow us to play the competitions over a tightened period.”

Fergal McGill on Morning Ireland 26/03/2020

One serious financial drawback to completing the All Ireland Championships on schedule would be a return to a straight knock out for one year with a back door system in operation.

The round robin championship format had been a very beneficial financial arrangement for counties who were now guaranteed at least two home games each year.

“We would probably do everything in our power to keep the All-Ireland Finals where they are currently scheduled,” said McGill.

“So the Hurling Final is scheduled for the 16th of August and the Football Final is scheduled for the 30th of August.

“I would imagine that as long as we get back on the playing field or we can start our inter-county championships before the middle of June then we should be able to retain those dates.

“We’d probably have to look at straight knock-out provincial championships in both football and hurling, but, potentially with a back-door as well.”

Electric Ireland Munster GAA Minor Hurling Championship Round 3, Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Cork 2/6/2018 Cork vs Limerick Limerick’s David Dempsey and Kyle Hayes celebrate Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

It remains to be seen if any new knockout format would see a re-drawing of fixtures. Limerick were due to play Cork away in their opening game of the round robin on May 10th.

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