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Fears grow for Tier Two amid coronavirus shutdown

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Stock photo: Sportsfile

Stock photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Stock photo: Sportsfile

The new Tier Two football championship is in jeopardy this summer after the GAA suspended all activity until March 29, in line with Government action in other areas in response to the growing threat of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The last two rounds of the football league are in danger of not being played with the GAA unlikely to compromise the April window exclusive to clubs.

The Association has not made any plans about future fixtures as it waits to assess more important matters on a national and global scale.

But a knock-on effect on the calendar is now certain with few windows of opportunity in the summer to complete the programme.

Tier Two teams, who would be playing for the Tailteann Cup, were being determined by this year's league status at the end of the programme, not at the start, and that means counties promoted from Division 3 and relegated from Division 2 would be impacted.

With the championship schedule already tightly packed, squeezing in two more rounds would be challenging for fixture-makers and for counties. And, consequently, the final standings may not even be ready in time for the scheduled first round of the Tier Two competition.

If the league is declared void, counties would likely assume their current status for the 2021 competition.

A blanket ban on all GAA activity until March 29 was announced yesterday, in response to the Government position taken.

League finals and all play-off games in football and hurling all look set to fall by the wayside.

The Gaelic Players Association (GPA) were initally canvassing inter-county players yesterday about the appetite for playing games behind closed doors, but this option didn't gain much traction.

The GAA's Medical, Scientific and Welfare Committee have supported the decision to include inter-county training as part of the suspension over the next 16 days, with chairman Dick Clerkin outlining how there was no need for distinction between club and county or underage and adult games in this decision.

Irish Independent