Enniscorthy Guardian

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New plan if games return

 

The familiar two groups of six format for the domestic G.A.A. championships has been shelved as a result of the time lost by the Covid-19 pandemic.

And although there is no guarantee that games will be played in any shape or form this year, County Board officers want to be ready for every eventuality.

With that in mind, a sub-committee of management is bringing a proposal on a revised format for club championships to the next meeting, for ratification to the County Board.

Under the suggested plan - covering all adult grades in both codes from Senior to Junior 'A' - the two groups of six will be replaced by four groups of three, and this will necessitate a new draw.

There will be a seeded team allocated to each group, and all participants will be guaranteed two games.

The top team in each group will advance directly to the county semi-final, with the bottom sides facing a relegation semi-final. Teams finishing second will be out of contention for the county title, but their status for 2021 will be secured.

The last time four groups of three were used in Senior championships was in 1991.

The proposed new format was distributed to clubs on Wednesday, along with a statement signed by the County Board Chairman, Derek Kent, and the Secretary, Gearóid Devitt.

'It is expected that it will not be possible to play the usual club championship format,' the letter stated.

'It is envisaged that, as previously notified, the CCC will allow a lead-in time for training of a minimum of two weeks before any club championship games would be fixed.'

The management committee held a meeting recently via teleconference, and there was praise from officers for the behind-the-scenes work undertaken by clubs all over the county.

'All Wexford GAA clubs were commended at the meeting for the support they are providing to those who are vulnerable in the community directly through club and other local initiatives and by also supporting the County Council's Community Resilience Programme,' the statement said.

'Supporters are encouraged to continue to fly their county and club flags in support of frontline workers.'

It was also confirmed that in the event of no club championships taking place this year, 2020 Club Cards will be valid for use in 2021.

Holders of these cards will be contacted once the details of the format have been ratified formally.

While the long-standing annual Model County Development Draw is currently suspended, officials are considering a format for a re-structured draw to take place at a later date.

Further information should be available on this over the coming weeks.

The County Board expressed gratitude to its sponsors for reaffirming their backing of Wexford G.A.A., following a letter from Zurich Insurance to Gearóid Devitt (see page 39).

'We wish to assure all concerned that the prudent management of the county's financial affairs is paramount and whatever steps are required to ensure the long-term viability of our financial structures will be taken as and when considered necessary,' the statement added.

While the fact that officials are putting forward a proposed new championship format for ratification may be viewed as a positive sign, the truth is that nobody can be certain of what the future - immediate or long-term - holds with regard to the playing of matches.

'All games and activities, including those under the jurisdiction of Coiste na nOg, remain suspended as per the GAA directive issued last week.

'This will continue until we are advised otherwise,' the statement read.

Enniscorthy Guardian