All GAA activity ruled out till mid-April at the earliest
Gaelic games activity will remain at a standstill until at least after Easter (April 6-7) following a meeting between the Minister for Sport and the GAA, LGFA and Camogie Association.
The meeting was held to brief the governing bodies on the short-term prospects for a return to training and playing.
The Government representatives clarified that inter-county Gaelic Games activity is not covered under the current Level 5 exemptions for elite sports, which is understood to have come as a surprise to the GAA as senior inter-county activity was permitted under the previous Level 5 guidelines.
It is the view of the GAA's Covid Advisory group that no on field activity will be permitted - training or games - until Easter at the earliest.
“We have been moved off the elite list which means that realistically we will have no decision on Gaelic games until after Easter,” Cavan county board PRO Susan Brady told The Anglo-Celt this morning.
“It wasn’t a shock. The daily numbers haven’t fallen below 1000, the daily deaths are still very high. I don’t know how it is going to affect the GAA playing calendar. We just don’t know how long this is going to go on for.
“It’s just complete uncertainty everywhere.”
In a letter signed by GAA President John Horan and Director General Tom Ryan and issued to the secretaries of each club and county board, the association stated:
“It is the view of the GAA's Covid Advisory group that no on field activity will be permitted - training or games - until Easter at the earliest. ln the interim, it is expected that the Government will publish an updated "Living with Covid" plan and we expect that this will provide clarity on when clubs and counties are likely to be allowed return to training and games in 2A21. It should also provide clarity on when other off-field club activities may be permitted to resume.
“It is clear that this extended delay to the planned return of the inter county season will have knock-on effects for both the inter county and club games programmes originally planned for 2027. As of now the GAA have made no firm decisions on what competitions may or may not be facilitated in any revised fixture programme – such decisions will be a factor of how much time is made available to us, both for an inter county season and for the broader participation levels that will be necessary for a meaningful club season.
“While we will begin to look at contingency plans for the Master Fixtures programme, we will not be able to take definitive decisions in this context until we have a clear picture of what restrictions we are likely to be operating under at various points in the year ahead.
“Rest assured however, that once clarity is provided by Government and Public Health Authorities on the likely road ahead for society generally and sport in particular, the GAA will follow with its own roadmap and plan for our own activities at both inter-county and club level, that will cover whatever time is available to us for the remainder of the year.
“We know these latest developments will come as a great disappointment to all those who are anxious to resume their Gaelic Games involvement, be it on or off the field. While we remain in the midst of a deadly pandemic, there is significant cause for optimism that much better days lie ahead.
"The manner in which we have endured and overcome thus far, both as individual members and as an Association generally, has been praised by many and is a cause of great pride to us all. With your help we are certain that we will eventually have a fulfilling season at both club and county level in 2021, just as we had in 2020.”