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Knockout club championships a non-runner in Clare

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*Shane Golden races away from Tom Downes. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Clare GAA are unlikely to put in a place a knockout format for the 2020 club championships while underage campaigns are at risk of not going ahead.

Different options are being assessed by the Clare County Board to determine how championships will be completed this summer. A roadmap is being prepared by the County Board which will outline the manner in which games will take place and if spectators will be allowed to attend matches.

Chairperson, Joe Cooney told The Clare Echo that he is hopeful this roadmap will be completed “in the next couple of weeks” but highlighted that Government guidelines may change in the interval and that officials were monitoring the advice on a daily basis.

“We are hopeful to play all championships at adult level,” Cooney stated, this would include senior, intermediate and junior grades while it is possible the U21 club campaigns will be completed.

As of yet the structure of each championship is unknown. “We are not sure of the structure,” the O’Callaghans Mills man said on Wednesday. One official has told The Clare Echo that a knockout format is not a runner for the Clare SHC and Clare SFC.

According to Cooney, “it is our belief that we cannot use the current format because there are not enough weeks to play the games”. He said clubs would be unable to play games midweek as players are working in different parts of the country and as such a new structure would have to be found for 2020. Consultations with the committee behind the Master Fixtures Plan is ongoing.

Social distancing will have to be maintained by spectators if they are granted access to attend club games in Clare. The roadmap is to provide clarity on how this can be achieved and may also preclude certain venues from hosting games.

At a meeting of Co Board officials this week, the prospect of running underage championships was not discussed. The prospect of finding pitches, referees and time has been flagged as a concern by some officers which may impact on underage hurling and gaelic football championships taking place.

Further discussion of the formats and underage games are to take place at a County Board meeting in the near future. Cooney confirmed that Clare GAA are contemplating holding such a meeting via teleconference as over 50 clubs will be expected to have a delegate present.

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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