By John Foley
The GAA has announced its updated plans for a return to games over the coming weeks and months in line with the government’s phased easing of restrictions.
And the good news for those starved of action is that there is provision for a 2020 inter-county championship to start in mid-October. Club games can begin on Friday 31 July. County teams will be allowed to resume training on 14 September with the window for club games with county players to last until 11 October. The CCCC will produce a full fixture schedule once Phase 3 is completed.
Full breakdown of the GAA plan:
Walkways only opened
GAA pitches to remain closed
All GAA buildings to remain closed
Individual training in line with Government recommendations
Gaelic Games Covid education module to be developed and officer/player training plan rolled out
GAA pitches to open for small group training (adult and juvenile)
All building remain closed (exception for toilets)
All training is non-contact in this phase
Small groups – 10 players or two coaches in a dedicated area of the field
Players arrive and depart togged out
Health questionnaire must be completed
Covid supervisor for each team
Underage players must be dropped off/collected
Only players/management permitted entry to grounds
Running, aerobic, agility, ball work – social distancing
No sharing of equipment like water bottles
Return to contact training
Club games from Friday 31 July
Buildings remain closed
Health questionnaire, Covid supervisor, collation of data still in place
Further information on spectators, spectator safety should be available at this point, will be issued to clubs as we get it
Club games continue (window with county players: 31 July – 11 October)
Access to facilities permitted, subject to social distancing, regular cleaning etc
County training resumes 14 September
Inter-county schedule to start no earlier than 17 October.
Meanwhile, Sport Ireland today also welcomed the approval by Government of its proposal to allow for the resumption of training for high performance and professional athletes.
From Monday, a number of high performance athletes and professional athletes will be allowed to resume training at agreed locations around the country. Athletes allowed to return to training are those included on the Sport Ireland International Carding Scheme and senior athletes in a National Governing Body that is in receipt of Sport Ireland High Performance Programme Funding.
Also permitted to return are players who derive a living from competing in football or rugby as identified by their respective governing bodies.
“Sports that are facility dependent or team based cannot easily replicate the benefits of training at their home environment,” said Sport Ireland chief executive John Treacy regarding the opening of some training facilities.
Among the facilities reopening will be the Sport Ireland Campus, the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena and National Aquatic Centre, Morton Stadium in Santry, Irish Sailing High Performance HQ in Dun Laoghaire, the National Rowing Centre in Cork, the Golf Union of Ireland Academy at Carton House, training venues for Dundalk FC, Derry City, Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers and training venues for Connacht, Leinster and Munster rugby.