GAA rule out inter-county games before October & suspend county training

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*The Clare senior hurling panel. Photograph: Mark Hayes

No inter-county GAA games will take place before October while the association expects club and county clashes will be held before the end of the year.

Clubs and county teams have been requested by the GAA to continue to adhere to COVID-19 restrictions and refrain from organising on-field activity. Such measures are anticipated to last until July 20th. All GAA facilities will remain closed, Croke Park officials have stated.

Earlier on Wednesday, Croke Park officials and representatives from each County Board were engaged in a series on conference calls.

County teams have been asked to suspend present training until further notice “in the interest of players”. A spokesperson for the GAA confirmed, “There will be a phased resumption of training at both club and county level to allow players to prepare appropriately for playing games”.

Until an official return to action protocol is confirmed, the Player Injury Scheme will remain suspended.

Clarity has been sought by GAA officials “around some of the issues that have arisen in internal discussions since last Friday including the challenge of social distancing in contact sport”. Officials have said they will continue to monitor the dates and timelines as outlined by the Government.

Inter-county games are shelved till October. “The GAA still firmly hopes to be able to play county and club competitions this year, subject of course to public health guidance. We can confirm however that no inter-county games are expected to take place before October”.

Games behind closed doors have not been ruled out for later in the year but officials have recognised the lack of desire from all parties in the association for such a move.

A dedicated COVID-19 Advisory Group has been set up within the GAA. They are to advise the association on return to play protocols.

It is comprised of, Shay Bannon (Chairman) – existing Chairman of Health and Safety group, Dick Clerkin (existing Chairman of Medical Scientific and Welfare Committee), Dr Pat O’Neill (Dublin), Dr Kevin Moran (Donegal), Dr Jim O’Donovan (Limerick), Dr Seán Moffatt (Chair of Gaelic Medical Association and Mayo team doctor), Paul Flynn (CEO Gaelic Players Association), Stephen Mc Geehan (Head of Operations, Ulster GAA), Tony Mc Guinness (Events and Safety Manager, Croke Park), Sinéad McNulty (CEO An Cumann Camógaíochta), Helen O’Rourke (CEO Ladies Gaelic Football Association), John Horan (Uachtarán CLG), Tom Ryan (Ard Stiúrthóir CLG) and Feargal Mc Gill (Director of Player, Club and Games Administration).

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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