Championship this year now in doubt?

Another day of our new normal, which still feels anything like normal. It never will, I suspect, but it’s beginning to look like we may have quite a bit of time to adjust to this altered reality.

While there’s still no clarity around how long the Covid-19 crisis – and all its attendant restrictions – is likely to last, Leo Varadkar hinted strongly the other night that it may be with us for some time to come. In his TV address on St Patrick’s Day the Taoiseach said it’s now expected to continue “well into the summer.”

This is no surprise. Indeed, the policy of “flattening the curve” has as its aim the continuation of the pandemic for a longer period, in order to avoid a situation where the health service gets overwhelmed in the first weeks of the outbreak and, by doing so, to reduce the anticipated number of fatalities.

Flattening the curve of Coronavirus infections in this country means, then, that significant number of new cases are likely to be confirmed each day for several more months. Given this, it follows that the kind of restrictions we’re living with now will have to stay in place for months as well. While it’s impossible to put a timeframe on this, we could be talking about the end of the year and maybe beyond that too.

Narrowing the focus in sharply, that kind of potential timeframe has obvious implications for when the on-field GAA action might resume. If, as now appears certain, the current restrictions – including the crucial social distancing provision, to which we’re all adapting – are still in place in high summer, then the best that could be expected is an enormously truncated Championship. It’s difficult, to the honest, even seeing that kind of outcome happening.

The unfinished business that was the League is clearly now beyond rescuing. Soon enough the same conclusion may have to be drawn about the Championship as well.

Already the first Championship match due to be played this year – Galway’s joust with New York over in Gaelic Park on 3rd May – has been postponed. In announcing that postponement, the GAA said that what to do with this fixture “will be considered at a later date and in the context of the anticipated overall re-drawing of the national fixtures calendar for 2020.”

That re-drawing can’t be finalised until there’s more clarity about when matches might resume again. And so we’re back once more at Square One, where we’re contemplating the crazy new world we find ourselves in, one we’re condemned to inhabiting for an indefinite period during which time we’ve no clear idea about what’s facing us from one day to the next and where any notion of making plans for a number of weeks into the future is utterly futile.

What isn’t futile, though, is to follow the HSE’s guidelines (here) on how to protect yourself and others from the virus. Also keep washing those hands and follow Sting’s advice – here.

54 thoughts on “Championship this year now in doubt?

  1. If there is an opportunity to play championship later in the summer – why not have a novel championship structure. All 32 counties into open draw – straight knockout. 16 winners – another open draw straight knockout etc. First named teams have home venue .semi finals in Croke Park. Would be huge interest in draws and would be sure to have some big games from day 1.

  2. The next 10 days will tell us alot re the spread of the Virus, I still believe this Country have taken the correct early measures that curtail it.
    Simple, forget about the league now, done for 2020.
    If a championship is to be played in late 2020 it should take the form of a Super 8 basis ( all current division 1 teams ) with straight knock out, games behind closed doors in a neutral venue.
    But in the current times we are experiencing I don’t think many are too concerned about sports.

  3. I don’t know why anyone is interested in the Championship this year?. It is completely immaterial…We are in a battle to save lives.. Sport will return some day…..We cannot afford to be in Self Denial..We have done much better than our nearest neighbor. We are an Island, at the edge of Europe, that’s a fact. It’s not a Government, policy or decision.. it’s a very lucky fact. . our people, thousands of them went to Cheltenham..did you see the social interaction on TV?.. Did anyone in the Government show any leadership in bringing people to their sences? What leadership has our President given? Waving at people in the Pheonix Park…Not good enough, maybe writing a poem might do something, If you don’t believe in Science we are lost..I won’t name anyone but there have been some very stupid thing’s written, we even have TD’d in the Dail who have shown absolute contempt for science, and we have thousands of people stupid enough to vote for them…Some will definitely critize my comments as being unpatoritic.. Plane load’s of Itilian Rugby fan’s came to Dublin for a non existent Rugby Match. The previous week over 100 people had died mostly in the Lombardi region of Italy. It can’t be measured exactly how much damage has been done by both of these things… The Government knew enough to stop the Rugby Match, great.. but didn’t stop the Italians coming?… I would say that the indecision as regards to both of those event’s, seems to me that someone many were in Denial as to what was happening … Since Leo’s anoncment from the US, most of what has happened has been brilliant. And I want to congratulate the Catholic Church in Particular for immediate announcement on Church Services, Confirmation Funeral’s ect.. and the Primate of Ireland genuine plea to the authority’s in the North to close down the schools .. little chance that they would close the Pubs when those with the power are in continuing ‘Self Denial’… While there is plenty of criticism in this post, no Government in the world could possibly encounter this once in Century Catastrophe without making mistakes…Co’mon Mayo in 2021.. some of us won’t be around to shout for ya and Co’mon all the people of the World in 2021, what’s nessary to make sure as many as possible of humankind are around for it.. let’s not congratulate ourselves while we are at War …We have to do even better!

  4. Lads, there isn’t a fecking chance that the championship will be played this summer. Ireland is only at the beginning of the curve, particularly if the Bould Leo’s pronouncement on a possible 15,000 cases is to be believed.

    This was decidedly not helped by thousands of leibides heading off to Cheltenham and “hands holding hands” in Temple Bar. If I had my way I’d quarantine them all on the Blasket Islands for their recklessness.

    Over yonder we got news that a cleaner in our building (it’s a biggun, 5,000 employees under one roof) tested positive for the virus a couple of weeks back. It certainly gets you thinking, let me tell you.

    Bless the medical staff and workers in essential industries who are keeping the world going at such a fraught time.

    Take care of yourself folks, Mayo football will still be here when this crisis is over, but some of us may not be. And for feck’s sake heed the advice from the authorities, I saw posts over on Hoganstand from several gobdaws arguing that the public reaction is overblown. It’s not, we’re in the midst of a global pandemic in which the population of Castlebar has already perished.

  5. Football is completely immaterial when we are all battling to save as many citizens as possible. A very scary time for all.

    However I find that sport can also act as a bit of a distraction in these worrying times and stop me reading too much about the pandemic. I heard yesterday that the players lined up to go to AFL this Easter will not go over and due to financial difficulties, the AFL is likely to scale back Irish recruitment. Hopefully that means we get to keep our 2 talented youngsters.

  6. I agree with lean times who seems to be a rock of sense more often than not on this forum. I know a lot of people don’t care for some peoples comments on here but I’m begging you all to be so so careful in your contact with others. As a health professional I can tell you this virus is vicious and will cause untold problems if the potential avalanche occurs. The consequences both financially and mentally will be unbelievable on families after this is over but how bad it becomes is up to us.
    On hospital boards in wards we will see ‘bilateral interstitial pneumonia’ scribbled against a lot if not all patients especially elderly ones who get this. If you need to Google it do so as you need to know the enormity of it and there are not enough ventilators believe me!
    Please no calling around for cups of tea, going for walks with non family members etc. etc. And wash yours hands like your life depends on it because it does. Stay safe everyone and keep the elderly out of hospital PLEASE!!!!

  7. Great post Pullhard. Everyone on this forum loves our great game but our world has changed in a matter of days. Football is now very secondary to what is happening. We all need to observe what we are being asked to do…it can and will save lives. Pullhard and all our healthcare workers are the real heroes who need our support right now. Our heroes on the pitch can wait until we see the light at the end of this dark tunnel.

    We have great people in this country who love their own and now is the time to do all we can to protect our own. Stay safe people and please please observe what we are being asked to do..It will make a huge difference and get us back living in the world we love so much sooner with all our loved one’s still with us. Stay safe everyone.

  8. Will there be refunds for season ticket holders, for the unplayed league games?

  9. I think we can forget about football for 2020. Its disappointing of course for the players and supporters. But there are more important things in life. This is the calm before the storm. In a months time I fear football will be far from anybody’s mind. Watching footage from hospitals in Italy is frightening. But let’s hope it never gets that bad here, we have acted quickly in fairness. There’ll be plenty of time for Mayo football in 2021. Let’s hope we’re all in good health to follow the team again.

  10. at pebblesmeller. i am surprised at u asking that questions.the answer is NO REFUNDS. I promise to run up croagh patrick barefoot if i get a refund

  11. League will be Null and Void, lucky for Meath and Mayo. great chance for a 32 County All Ireland Championship about July august. Open draw with Division 3 and 4 having home advantage otherwise home for first out of hat. Semi and Final in Croke Park. Real Championship Football with full houses at every game.

  12. Looking at the figures ,Dublin and Cork should now be put on a lockdown from now on and nobody let out outside their county borders unless an emergency.Mayo still has less than 5 people with the Virus for 3 days in a row.

  13. @Chris Kelly , this is only the confirmed figure for Mayo… how many do know have been tested?..I’m told a waiting time of several days, to be tested…I know of absolutely nobody who has been tested in Mayo.. and come to think of , you could have been tested anywhere in Ireland last week, tested Negative, but that in no way garuntees that you are negative today…If you break the rules, you are by an enormous factor more likely to get it…Low ‘Confirmed’ figures in Mayo are meaningless… Italy not long ago had only one Confirmed Case… Maximum Compliance!

  14. For any night owls out there, or indeed anyone in desperate need of some live sport, there is 3 Mayo ladies playing Aussie tomorrow morning, (Saturday morning, Irish time). First up at 1.40am is North Melbourne (Aileen Gilroy) V Collingwood (Sarah Rowe). At 3.40am it’s GWS Giants (Cora) V Melbourne Fc.
    These games are live on the AFLW app, which is free of charge!

  15. You never know, but maybe they will play a quick knockout championship of some sort from late summer on to a conclusion. Twould be very welcomed at that stage of the year, though I’d wonder if players are keeping themselves fit enough for the game and more importantly is this all too much of a stress on them. Maybe 2020 should be cancelled and start fresh in 2021, IF , the virus has died away.
    I’ll keep bleaching the doorhandles of the car, house, etc and disinfecting the hands after touching anything at all in public, any other tips?

  16. I agree Dublin should he put in lockdown, but the Health officials are waiting to see the number of daily cases up until the end of this month. In Mayo very good measures are being taken in the Supermarkets, petrol stations and take aways with the sit in option being taken away last Wednesday in one of them.
    But in Dublin some of the very large service stations that have food for take away and sit in have not copped on to the social distancing measures. People still being allowed to que up tightly, and food eaten at the premises.
    It is said that Petrol pump handles in general can carry the Virus.
    My own guess is that this Country will get away lightly in comparison to Italy, frightening scened on YouTube of hospitals in Bergamo and Cremona trying to cope.
    In 2 or 3 months time we will be over it in this Country.
    Time for the authorities here to get tough in the way China did.

  17. how will it be over in 2 or 3 months when there’s no vaccine?
    We’re in this for the long haul I’m afraid.

  18. Another reason why we in Mayo can’t become complacent is that… while the numbers are much higher elsewhere, say Dublin in this instance… Patient’s will be transferred to the quiter hospitals around the Country, and at best we will only be a few days before that number’s with Covid 19, per capita as the National effort kicks in!

  19. I cannot see any football being played this year as without a vaccine we will not be able to get on top of this virus. It appears that it can be transmitted by people who are showing no symptoms and some people, may be small in numbers but significant nonetheless, who test positive but never show any symptoms. Even if a vaccine were to be developed in the short term facilities to produce it would have to be either developed from scratch or existing vaccine production redeveloped to produce it, in vast quantities initially. Football in 2021? Perhaps?

  20. its a strange Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mammies on the blog. Last Mother’s Day we Mayo beat Kerry in the league final. This too will pass

  21. Watched Mayo v Donegal 2013 quarter final on Eir Sport last night. Is it our best ever performance in Croke Park. I know we destroyed then but watching it again we had at least another 3 or 4 goal chances former even. That team was in some serious shape. On an aside I think I spotted yourself WJ in crowd dancing around mad when camera panned to it after third or fourth goal?

  22. I’m afraid football will be the least of our worries in 2020. The peak of this outbreak apparently is due in July and I presume a tail off period will last well into the autumn at least. During this period I think we will also see some worrying scenes here too – hopefully not as bad as Bergamo in Italy. Hopefully we might avoid the worst outcomes but cannot avoid some serious damage.
    All we can do is follow the advice of experts and hope for the best.
    Looking forward to enjoying the simple things in life again – including Mayo football.

  23. As Simon Harris said yesterday, each day that passes is a day closer to a vaccine and the right medicine. Stay well all.

  24. Well spotted, JPM! It was after Boyler’s point and that particular Dad dance was then used by TV3 I think it was as a promo ahead of the semi. Morto.

  25. Beannachtai na feile maithre oraibh uilig inniu. Remember to keep washing the hands with soap for at least 20sec. The suds will kill the cell membrane of the virus (at least every 2 h). Decontaminate your door handles, toilet handles, mobile phone, light switches every day with dettol/alcohol wipes . Also remember you can only get the virus from another person so social distance is important unlike TB (bacterium) which was a scourge in the 1940/50 in Ireland was transmitted by air! So it is safe to go out for our walks without fear! In my opinion masks are of no benefit except in a hospital setting! We will prevail Mhuigeo abu! Go neiri libh i gconai
    Microbiologist (retired).

  26. Ahh yes 2013, the year I really believed we were the best team in Ireland . commentators seem to always make it a case of the opposition been poor when we hammer a team out the gate but we were incredible that year , clinical . We looked so on our game but unfortunately seemed to tire in the heat of final in second half especially around the middle , Cluxton was praised and praised for his kick outs and rightfully so but the runners into space made it a lot handier when a couple of our lads got heavy legged especially.

  27. Coronavirus figures that might give us some hope that we got our act together quickly enough. Just comparing us to our UK neighbours we are doing so well so far, and that our policies may be working … hopefully.
    So far:
    250 deaths in England with 56 million population
    16 deaths in Wales with 3 million population.
    14 deaths in Scotland with 5 million population.
    4 deaths in Ireland with 5 million population.

    We are at 0.8 deaths per million as against 5 per million in England and Wales.

    Huge difference. We are doing so much better than UK so far.

    Hopefully we moved quickly enough.

  28. For anyone who thinks we have all gotten the message about social distancing and personal responsibility, I’ll say this. This morning we had a f**king idiot walk in to my place of work, went through our office and delivery section and as he was getting in to his car he put on his gloves and face mask. When someone asked him why all the precautions now, he informed us that he returned from Northern Italy just over a week ago!!!!! The tool box never thought to mention that, before he came into contact with 7 individuals, nor did he wear his gloves and mask as he came into contact with those people. He only put them on when he got into his car!!! It’s amazing how utterly stupid and inconsiderate people can be. I had to ask myself how can someone that stupid actually survive long enough to reach middle age.

    Claremorris1951, before we all give ourselves a big pat on the back, we are only at approx 2,000 tests per day. We are expecting to more than double that figure over the next few days so we should expect our infection figures to double also.

  29. Pebblesmeller – The number of positive cases in a country can be misleading as it won’t count people who don’t show symptoms and recover themselves. Looking at deaths per population is a more accurate way of comparing as all of these will be accounted for.

  30. @Claremorris 1951, This is not a competition where we are winning versus the UK…We are at War versus a Virus.. Where we are definitely doing very well in many area’s!.. We have on this Island, and we can only think of this as an Island, because the Virus cannot cross the Irish Sea or Atlantic Ocean..Our Population North and South Combined is still approximately 15% less than the census of 1841… England and Wales combined in 1841 had a similar population as us . England and Wales combined now have a combined population of approximately 7 time’s of what they had in 1841. .. Having a sparce population, as a result of the Famine, and other missrule, by the British Empire, and of course we had plenty of home grown missrule as well in the meantime… and Ireland being an Island Nation are of enormous benifit to us right now….I wish all the people’s of the World well in their fight against this Virus, the better they do, the better we will do…We all need each other, countries as well, and we will need each other post recovery, and this too will happen some day…. There is a dearth of Political leadership in so of the World and it’s self evident, …On either side of us…the UK and the USA , their leader’s have shown absolute contempt for science and fact…No doubt both Borris Johnson and Donald Thrump with their attitude will contribute to making matters worse in their respective countries…. The whole world is now at War with a common enemy, and most of the Countries in World are not at War with each other…. It’s how we do against this common enemy that matters!

  31. I am not in the Science field but they say ( YouTube) that for every 1 positive test there are 8 or 10 times that amount that has the Virus.
    Testing in Ireland appears to be very low, numbers are very small.
    With the social distancing measures so far and the semi lockdown in place, I still think we will be over the worst by end of April or 15th May.
    The Leaving Cert will go ahead.
    There will be an Autumn slimmed down championship, with a Galway v Dublin final.
    If the 2020 championship is knockout, I wouldn’t bet against Galway becoming champions.

  32. Mayo88 if I wasn’t depressed before your post what with all the talk about Covid 19 I certainly am now at the prospect of Galway being All Ireland champions

  33. Saw this on Twitter and thought it was v good, some v tough decisions, tried to keep them in their original positions as much as I could, spent a good hour at this!

    A one club county XV,
    Pick a county team but can only use one player per club (I went from 1990-2020)

    1-Clarke (Ballina)
    2-Higgins (Ballyhaunis)
    3-Boyle (Davitts)
    4-K Mortimer (Shrule/Glencorrib)
    5-P Durcan (Castlebar)
    6-L Keegan (Westport)
    7-N Connelly (Hollymount)
    8-T Parsons (Charlestown)
    9-A O’Shea (Breaffy)
    10-C Mcmanamon (Burrishoole)
    11-C O’Connor (Ballintubber)
    12-C McDonald (Crossmolina)
    13-A Moran (Ballaghdereen)
    14-A Freeman (Aghamore)
    15-K O’Neill (Knockmore)

  34. @pebblesmeller. II apologise if my post came across as agloaat again the UK. That was never the intention.
    As Wide Ball said, I deliberately used deaths as the as the most accurate indicator of how we are doing. This is due to the desperate disparity in testing.
    Yes, all over the world, we are all fighting a silent deadly enemy where young people have to be careful that they are, in the main, the silent carriers.
    The point I was making is that this country has made mostly correct decisions so far. Hopefully we can keep the death toll down as a result.
    It is so sad to see the coffins in Italy. I hope also that the UK decisions tonight prevent the slaughter like happened in Italy.
    PS Cheltenham was an absolute disgrace, and will kill many people in time.

  35. As somebody above asked, can someone put on a link to that clip of Willie Joe dancing in the isles at Mayo v Donegal in 2013. Would love to see that. It might lift the mood a bit alright. We were absolutely dynamite that day for sure.

  36. Eyesontheball Kevin Mc Loughlin for O Neill ‘Jason Doherty for Colm Mc and as you went back to 1990 Jimmy Burke for Freeman who can forget that memorable goal in the CF in Roscommon. James Horan wont be calling to your house with a Christmas gift leaving him out over Cillian and what about Diarmud .

  37. Kevin Mc or Kevin O’Neill would be a toss of a coin job, imo. Two brilliant servants of Mayo football. O’Neill abandoned to the wilderness by a certain manager for a spell . A one time all-star too. Gifted player.

  38. Would repeat the message of social distancing over and over again. I looked out of my window last night and- I’m not kidding about this- I saw a group of 4-5 young fellas having a play fight at the end of the street, grappling each other.

    There are some luadars out there yet!

    The Government are going to have to get tough at some point soon, because there are some people who will not listen no matter how often they are told.

    Meanwhile, the start of the current outbreak in Europe has been traced back to an Austrian ski resort.

  39. Some tough calls if you have to restrict to one from each club.
    Knockmore – Brogan, O’Neill, McLoughlin – hard to pick one. Probably would go for Kevin Mc in the end as he’s a lot more versatile in my view.
    Ballina – David Clarke, Caff, Liam MacHale, Kevin McStay – for me it would be Liam MacHale.
    Castlebar – there’s only one Paddy Durcan, but if you want to go into history Paddy Moclair might get a look in, he could get a look in with Ballina too.
    Crossmolina – would have to be McDonald, but Jimmy Nallen is a hard one to leave out.

  40. Its looking like the NFL 2020 will be marked null and void. If this happens, are player appearances and individual score tallies marked off aswell?

  41. Appearances and individual score tallies should stand as normal. The games were competitive at the time just the competition was abandoned.

    Personally I think it’s a bit premature to void the leagues. Things are changing quickly so there’s no point making a rash decision today. Although it would suit us fine!

  42. The LGFA have already nulled their league campaigns. If and its a big if there’s football later this year, there will be no room for the remaining league games. Club championships will have to get precedence over the league. County Teams will need 3-6 weeks training together before a competitive match could be played. HQ make the real money from packed out Croker games and provincial grounds. So best we can hope for is some sort of old school straight knockout competition in the Autumn. I personally don’t see any GAA been played this year, but hopefully things change.

    If the league goes its a great result for Meath obviously, and ourselves, Tyrone and Donegal.

  43. @culmore Donaghys demolition Job on Heaney in 2006 will always stick in my memory, good servant all the same. Cillian or Diarmuid was a tough call but went for Cillian as a freetaker/scoring threat!

  44. Might have to go back to old style knockout if this thing clears up in time.
    Playing nearly every week

  45. Marty Morrissey, on 6 o clock news, suggested that powers that be are looking at finishing the league at some stage and also a championship with no back door.

  46. Donaghy demolished David Heaney surely in 2006 but Donaghy was in his prime and not long on the scene and Heaney had already given 9 years in a Mayo senior jersey in 97 and was normally a very good defender/midfielder Not many would have lived with Donaghy that day even tho Brady put a stop to his gallop when he came on the damage was done.

  47. There will no doubt be a window to ultimately play off the championship this year at some stage (everything is not going to shut down till we have a vaccine, which may even take years, if ever!) but whether a championship is actually played is another question. That window may not come until Autumn depending on how things go – but hopefully things are back to somewhat of normality by the summer

    Whether there is a championship depends on a number of variables. Large scale events may well be off limits for quite a time, so maybe the GAA may have to consider the behind closed doors option. And even if crowds can attend as normal, its inevitable the championship won’t be played off in its proposed structure for 2020 (round robins, super 8s etc.).
    Will a new structure/behind closed doors option get universal agreement from players/county boards etc.?

    In this observer’s personal opinion it may be no harm at all to suspend the senior inter county season for a year and instead let the club go ahead as normal. Club crowds are far easier to control anyway (if social distancing is still a requirement come later in the year), and every registered GAA player will be able to play ball in 2020. That said a makeshift inter county championship would be fine with me. Imagine a straight knockout from July – September, massive crowds and atmosphere, every game do or die. Maybe I’m watching too much All Ireland Gold but would love to see it back for a year!

  48. Ciaran, I agree that at some stage a window will emerge where some kind of championship can be played. however I cant see that happening until the second half of the year at least, maybe in autumn. This emergency will stretch into the summer with restrictions on mass gatherings going much further. There will not be a day where the government says “right its all over now, back to normal”, it will be a slow gradual return with way more important sectors of society required before thinking about sport.

    If a window does present itself later in the year, will the GAA press ahead with an intercounty championship at the expense of the club game, focus put on the elite minority at the expense of the majority of GAA players and shoe horn the clubs back into the depths of winter. If the intercounty championship cannot be completed by the end of August (which looks highly unlikely at this stage) then it must be cancelled for the entire year and give what time that maybe available to the clubs, to ALL of the GAA players and communities.

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