October the earliest date for return to inter-county action: GAA

Derry GAA Fixtures

An All-Ireland championship is still possible for 2020 - but games will not start before October.

The GAA have confirmed that no inter-county games are expected to be played before the end of Autumn.

The Association made the announcement following the Government's Roadway to Recovery plan which was announced on Friday. They welcomed the plan, which included dates relating to the possible return of sporting activity, including Gaelic games.

In their statement the Association said they will attempt to seek clarity around some of the issues that have arisen in internal discussions, including the challenge of social distancing in contact sport. At present GAA facilities are to remain closed as part of efforts to prevent gatherings which breach the restrictions. They have instructed clubs and counties to continue to adhere to the restrictions and to refrain from organising on-field activity. These measures are expected to remain in place until July 20.

The GAA firmly hopes to be able to play county and club competitions this year, subject of course to public health guidance. However, they confirmed that no inter-county games are expected to take place before October.

Counties have been asked to suspend all inter-county training, in the interest of players, until further notice. There will be a phased resumption of training at both club and county level to allow players to prepare appropriately for playing games.

The GAA has appointed a dedicated Covid-19 Advisory Group which will advise the Association on matters relating to return to play protocols and other similar issues. The group includes Shay Bannon, the existing Chairman of Health and Safety group; Dick Clerkin, the existing Chairman of Medical Scientific and Welfare Committee and Paul Flynn, CEO of the Gaelic Players Association.

The outcome of this group’s work will be a graduated approach, informed and guided by the recently published Government Roadmap and by Government policy from Stormont.

Thanking clubs for the important role they have played in the community effort against the coronavirus pandemic they also underlined the importance of continuing to adhere to the guidelines to ensure that the country as a whole meets its targets in the coming weeks, facilitating a return to games when it is safe to do so.

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