A revised return to action roadmap has been published by the GAA which will see Clare’s senior footballers and hurlers back in action next month.
Senior inter-county training will resume on April 19th but no return date for collective inter-county training for minor or U20 has been furnished. The inter-county season will be concluded by August allowing club action to commence in September or as soon as a county is eliminated from the All-Ireland series.
Each county will be guaranteed a minimum of five games in senior football with all but three counties getting to field six matches.
Allianz National Football Leagues will run from May 15th/16th to the finals weekend on June 19th/20th. The Divisions will be split into North and South as first outlined in December with four teams per group based on geography, there will be three round robin games per team with the top two in each Divisional group progressing to the league semi-finals followed by a League final.
According to the GAA, an overwhelming majority of counties competing in Divisions 1 and 2 of the Allianz National Hurling League were happy to return after three weeks on the basis that five league games were guaranteed.
Subsequently, both Division 1 and 2 will commence on May 8th/9th. They will continue with the structure announced in December. A round robin series will be followed with no quarter-final, semi-final or final scheduled. There will be either joint winners for 2021, or if the teams that win Divisiion 1A and Div 1B meet in the Championship, this will double as a League Final. The hurling league relegation play off will be played as curtain raiser to the Senior Hurling Semi Final in August.
Colm Collins’ side will face off with Cork, Laois and Kildare in their league campaign. They begin with an away tie against Kildare before hosting Cork and travelling to Laois. Brian Lohan’s hurlers are expected to be in Division 1B alongside Kilkenny, Wexford, Dublin, Laois and Antrim, fixture details have yet to be clarified.
Championship draws will take place in the next fortnight.
In the senior football championship, a provincial knock-out championship will be held, there will be no qualifiers or Tailteann Cup in 2021.
For counties vying to win the Liam MacCarthy, there will be provincial knock-out championships with back-door qualifier system as in 2020 but with introduction of relegation (to Mc Donagh Cup).
Details on the minor and U20 competitions in football and hurling will be finalised “when there is clarity on a return to training date,” a spokesperson for the GAA stated.
Clubs do not have permission to return to training currently only pods of fifteen in Northern Ireland, the GAA highlighted. Club competitions with county players can take place as county teams exit the championships. From August 1st, all counties bar All Ireland Semi-Finalists in Football and Hurling, and the teams in the Div 1 Hurling Relegation play off, will be free to stage club competitions with county players.
Provincial club championships will not begin until mid-November. Provinces have been requested to ensure Clubs from teams in the senior inter-county All Ireland Semi-finals and Finals will not be involved in the earliest round of the relevant Provincial Championship, where possible. Senior Provincial Club Championship will most likely start in or around the weekend of Nov 20/21, All Ireland Senior Club Finals are provisionally scheduled for the weekend of February 12th/13th 2022.