As we approach the first anniversary of the imposition of Covid-related restrictions – it’ll be a year next weekend since that madcap League match against Kerry, the last inter-county game that crowds were allowed to attend – the start date for inter-county action this year has become a little clearer.
The provision of clarity wasn’t an accusation that could, in truth, have been levelled at yesterday’s Government announcement on Living with Covid. Indeed, in its wake there was a fair bit of confusion about what the plan meant for GAA activity.
That’s now been clarified, with all eyes on 5th April, at which point the ongoing Level 5 restrictions will be reviewed. GAA President John Horan – whose term of office ends at Congress this weekend – confirmed today that the hope is that inter-county training, as well as juvenile activity, will be able to resume at that stage.
Assuming it does, then a four-week lead-time, during which training would be allowed to happen, would see inter-county matches getting underway in early May. That seems to be the best-case scenario for a return to play at inter-county level.
The outgoing GAA President also confirmed in that interview that the fixtures calendar may have to be looked at to determine what competitions should be held and when. For now, though, the association seems determined to stick with the current plans for a split season, with the inter-county action taking place first.
As a widespread Covid vaccine rollout draws ever nearer, we can all afford some idle thoughts about what a return to something approaching normality might entail. It could, according to John Horan in that piece linked above, yet see small numbers of supporters allowed in to see matches before this year is over.
A year on from when most of us saw any live action in the flesh that’s a rather alluring prospect. That and all the other stuff about everyday life that we took so much for granted but surely no longer will.