John Mullane: I make it odds-on that there’ll be no GAA Championship in 2020

It might not hear the first whistle.

John Mullane GAA

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From a players’ point of view, they’ve got the clarity that there’s going to be no inter-county action until October. That means all the county managers can pull the plug on their plans for the time being and I know Liam Cahill, of Waterford, did that with his players last week.

The flip side of that is there’s still no proper plan in place for the clubs and that’s worrying.

We all had hope after listening to An Taoiseach last Friday night on the Late Late Show. The roadmap was there and that gave everybody hope. That’s now after being effectively ruled out by the GAA and they’re saying that there’s going to be no use of pitches until July 20th.

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Where does that put the club calendar? How can you start the club campaign when there’s going to be no pitches open until July 20th?

It means you’re giving club players two or three weeks’ preparation and then telling them to go and play competitive games. That doesn’t make one bit of sense. If the GAA were to adhere to the roadmap, which was outlined last Friday, where players could train in groups of four, that would give you hope of starting off the calendar.

With the elimination of that, and no club grounds being available until July 20th, I just can’t see how they can have a club championship which can kick into gear as early as August.

Regarding what An Taoiseach said last Friday night, I think the GAA were possibly taken back by his announcement. I don’t think they saw that coming and that means that they had to follow on from his words last Friday.

They’ve now come out and said that ‘this is the road we’re taking’ and they probably feel that this is the right way to go.

To be fair to the GAA so far, they’ve got everything right and what is very encouraging is that they’ve set up a Covid-19 advisory group. Ultimately however, I think the decision lies with the management, the players and the officials on when we should return. And when you think about it, with the cancelling of the Leaving Cert at the end of July, how can you expect to have GAA games a few weeks later?

After the last week, do I see the All-Ireland Championships taking place this year? Six weeks ago, I would have made it short odds that we’ll get the Championship back this year. Even after last Friday’s announcement, I would have given it a 50/50 chance to go ahead later in the year.

But now, after the GAA’s announcement, I make it long odds-on that there be Championships in 2020. I’d love nothing more than to see live sport, and in particular GAA, come back to our TV screens in the near future. The thoughts of watching all these magnificent hurlers like TJ Reid, Brendan Maher and Lee Chin in action this year.

To me, the hopes of seeing that over the coming months are now very slim. I just can’t see it happening now.

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