• Mon. Oct 24th, 2022

GAA president John Horan has strongly hinted that inter-county action will come back first when it is safe for the association to resume competitions.

Feb 21, 2021

GAA president John Horan has strongly hinted that inter-county action will come back first when it is safe for the association to resume competitions.
In 2020, club activity returned first as Covid-19 numbers fell in the early summer months. This was a precursor for the resumption of the Allianz League and the playing of the county championships from October to December.
However, governmental levels are most likely to decree that the county will come before club in 2021, but Horan is confident that a full programme of inter-county and club games will take place.
Speaking on the PWC All-Star awards coverage on RTÉ, the GAA president said: “There will be a programme of games for both our club and inter-county players once we get the green light from the Government that we can actually return.
“It is a case of the numbers in the country and thankfully the numbers are going in the right direction – and once that continues will be back on the playing fields. The inter-county, obviously, will be the one that comes back first.”
“When pressed on that latter, Horan added: “If you look at it in terms of the governmental levels it’s always likely that the inter-county will be at a level above that of the club, one assumes then that that is the road we will go down.”   
GAA President John Horan says there will be a programme of games at club and inter-county level in 2021 once they get the green light, while outgoing GPA CEO Paul Flynn says inter-county games should be categorised as ‘elite’ sport pic.twitter.com/jjGGkF6fZW
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) February 20, 2021
This coming week the government will issue an updated ‘Living With Covid’ plan and the Uachtarán is hopeful that from this he can give some clarity to GAA members.
“We always made it clear that there would be four-weeks notice, that is four weeks to train before any competition would begin. In early January we pushed the starting date (for the commencement of training) back from the 15 January and then we moved it back further. 
“Our Covid committee will meet next week along with the GPA, the Camogie Association and the Ladies Association. We will make a clear decision then to give people an idea as to a future plan. 
“We are conscious that people’s lives are on hold at the moment, that they want clarity and that they want a plan. We will give it as soon as we can. The one thing that we have learned out of this whole pandemic is that you have to be flexible in all your planning and ideas that you put together. We will have to remain that way.”
Also on the programme was GPA CEO Paul Flynn, who welcomed the requirement for clarity, but was also at pains to point out that inter-county games should be categorised as ‘elite’ sport. Last week Government representatives clarified that inter-county Gaelic Games activity is not covered under the current Level 5 exemptions for elite sports.
“Inter-county are as elite a game as you have on this island,” said Flynn.
“It’s critically important that it is categorised and recognised as that.
“These are high-performing athletes. When we look at other sports and there are great athletes in our country they benchmark right up there if not surpass it. It’s important for players to be recognised in that manner.”