The GAA is to seek more clarity on their return to play, after the Government's announcement of the plan to ease Covid-19 restrictions next month.
Speaking as part of an address to the nation this evening, Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed that inter-county training for senior teams can resume from April 19 to "facilitate national league competitions, starting in May." Underage training on a non-contact basis in pods of up to 15 will be permitted a week later.
Welcoming the positive news, GAA president Larry McCarthy and director general Tom Ryan have warned that any early return to training by an inter-county senior team would put the return plans "in serious jeopardy." They hope to finalise a revised fixtures calendar for 2021, including inter-county competitions, by the end of next week.
A GAA statement reads: "These are hugely welcome developments and allow us finally to begin planning on-field activity for the remainder of 2021. However, it should also be noted that these dates are conditional and will very much depend on what happens in terms of the overall Covid-19 picture in the coming weeks. For that reason, it is more important than ever that no collective training sessions are held between now and the Government indicated return dates. Breaches in this context will not only be dealt with under our own rules but would likely put the broader plan to return to activity in serious jeopardy.
"As you will appreciate, we need to receive further clarity on aspects of what was announced today before finalising our plans for a return to training and ultimately games. We also need to finalise competition structures and dates for the upcoming inter-county season, as well as ensuring advice is provided for all clubs in relation to how they can safely recommence underage activity (and in the case of the six counties, adult club training from April 12th).
"At this point, we can only confirm that senior inter county teams both North and South are likely to be permitted to return to collective training from Monday, April 19th. We hope to be in a position to confirm the fixture calendar and competition structures for inter county by the end of next week. We also hope to have finalised updated versions of our Return to Play documents for both inter-county and club activity ahead of the stated dates for resumption North and South of the border.
"In the interim, we would ask for your patience while we complete this work and we look forward to communicating in detail with you all again next week in relation to the resumption of GAA activity."Tweet