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Government’s revised Covid plan to bring more clarity to GAA season

Exemption for senior inter-county games not expected to be reinstated immediately

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15 November 2020; Referee Ciarán Branagan throws in the ball for the start of the second half during the Leinster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Dublin and Laois at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

15 November 2020; Referee Ciarán Branagan throws in the ball for the start of the second half during the Leinster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Dublin and Laois at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

15 November 2020; Referee Ciarán Branagan throws in the ball for the start of the second half during the Leinster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Dublin and Laois at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

The GAA should get an insight later today into how it might revise its playing calendar and activities as the Government updates a new ‘Living with Covid’ plan.

Almost two weeks ago, following consultation with Government officials, the GAA’s Covid advisory group proposed that there should be no resumption of any activity until Easter at the earliest after Government said the exemption for the preparation of and playing of inter-county games under Level 5 of the current plan had expired.

The expectation is that this exemption will not be restored immediately under the revised Government plan but a return should become clear with the publication of new levels that set out the roadmap into the summer.

Last summer, adult club activity was allowed in Level 2, though non-contact training in pods of 15 was allowed in Level 3.

GAA president John Horan said over the weekend that the GAA remains committed to proceeding with inter-county first, with the Allianz Leagues still on course to be played - more likely in May and early June.

With more transmissible Covid variants in circulation, the various stages of the roadmap may differ to last year, but pressure is growing to include clearance for some level of recreational activity, especially for children.

Meanwhile, a key county board meeting in Clare will take place tonight to plot a future strategy for GAA in the county.

The issue has been divisive after an Éire Óg motion to last year’s convention seeking an independent committee to draw up a strategic plan for the county by September of this year.

Last week the Ennis-based club proposed a seven-man committee, made of up prominent business executives including former chief executive of Davy Stockbrokers Tony Garry, to oversee their suggestion.

It followed the proposal by the board executive to establish four separate sub-committees to draw up plans for football, hurling, the Caherlohan centre of excellence and finance.

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