Start of the 2021 GAA National Leagues could be delayed due to Covid fears

No collective training for inter-county teams for at least the remainder of January

Padraic O'Brien

Reporter:

Padraic O'Brien

Email:

padraig.obrien@longfordleader.ie

allianz national football league

Niall Loughlin on the attack for Derry in evading the challenge of Longford defender Barry O'Farrell. Action from the 2020 National Football League Division 3 game at Celtic Park back in October

The start of the 2021 GAA National Leagues could be delayed due to the serious nature of the record rising number of positive cases in the dreaded coronavirus pandemic.

The Longford senior footballers are scheduled to commence the season in the Northern section of Division 3 on February 27/28 with fixtures against Cavan, Derry and Fermanagh but that might now be pushed back.

Also returning to competitive action that same weekend are the Longford senior hurlers in Division 3A of the National League. 

The GAA have taken the decision that there will be no collective training permitted for inter-county teams for at least the remainder of the month of January given the current 'exceptional rise in infection rates of Covid 19 and the increased risk of community transmission.' 

As previously advised, and under the current Government Regulations in both jurisdictions, neither training nor games are permitted at club level currently.  

Current Level 5 restrictions in the Republic of Ireland will run until January 31 at which point the GAA will review the current situation and further advice in this context will be provided.

In a letter to county secretaries this week, GAA Director General Tom Ryan said that the decision was made due to the current rise in infection rates of Covid-19 and the increased risk of community transmission.

Ryan stated that in addition to this move, club and county gyms must also stay closed until further notice.

"Breaches of any of the above provisions will be dealt with under Rule 7.2 (e) of the officials guide," the letter states.

This rule refers to misconduct considered to have discredited the association.

"As you are aware the current Level 5 restrictions in the South will run until January 31 at which point the GAA will review the current situation and any further advice in this context will be provided," continued Ryan in his letter. 

"Finally, it is important to note that outdoor gatherings on GAA property are not permitted – the only current exemption to this is for walkways (which may stay open for use by the community with social distancing in place) and for clubs registered for the 'Ireland Lights Up' walking initiative.

"I fully appreciate the frustrations these additional restrictions may place on our inter-county players and management teams.

"However, the safety of everyone in the game and indeed the broader community has to be our primary focus.

"It has never been more important for our players, coaches and officials to follow both the Government guidelines and our own provisions around training," stated the GAA Director General.