The government’s announcement yesterday evening on the reopening of various parts of the economy and society finally gives us a likely timeframe to look forward to from a GAA perspective. That’s the middle of May, when National League action is set to start, most likely on the weekend of 15th/16th May.
The government announced yesterday that collective inter-county training would be allowed to re-commence on 19th April. It was always the plan that counties would be given a month to prepare for the start of competitive action, hence the likely start of the Leagues in the middle of May.
It’s widely expected that what the GAA will opt for is a compacted, regionalised format for the Leagues – comprising no more than five matches for each county – and, like last year, that this would be followed by an old-fashioned straight knockout Championship.
That’s not, however, set in stone as yet. John Fogarty reports in today’s Irish Examiner (here) that the GAA are expected to publish a revised master fixtures schedule for the year at the end of next week. When they do this, it’s expected to contain details both of the format of the Leagues and the Championship for this year and the fixture details for both competitions over the coming months.
So, there’s a bit more waiting to be done yet before we get a clear fix on what the football year is going to look like. But at least we now have a clear idea about when the action looks set to get going this year and we can start to look forward to seeing some live football once again, even if, like last year, the matches will once again all have to be viewed from the sofa. Still, as we also know from last year, this is immeasurably better than no matches at all.