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Wexford GAA lead the way with new 10-week club programme to finish season


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Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald is pictured with County Board chairman Derek Kent after a Leinster SHC quarter-final match against Laois at O'Moore Park, in Portlaoise back in May 2017. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald is pictured with County Board chairman Derek Kent after a Leinster SHC quarter-final match against Laois at O'Moore Park, in Portlaoise back in May 2017. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald is pictured with County Board chairman Derek Kent after a Leinster SHC quarter-final match against Laois at O'Moore Park, in Portlaoise back in May 2017. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Wexford are planning to run off their club championships over a 10-week period if action gets the green light later in the year.

Wexford clubs were circulated with a plan to run off all their 12-team championships from junior to senior in hurling and football that would see each code take up five weekends and offer each team a maximum of four games.

Wexford hope to convene an online county board meeting to approve the changes and have them ready, if and when a window of opportunity arises. Other counties are also tailoring their programmes to fit into a much smaller window.

Wexford chairman Derek Kent said they will be flexible in how they get through their programme.

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Kent was one of the first to pitch for a club-first approach based on smaller spectator numbers and the community values it brought. He said he was supportive of the GAA's safety-first approach to the resumption of games. The Wexford format will have four groups of three in each grade of each code, guaranteeing all teams two games.

Four group winners would contest semi-finals with relegation semi-finals for the bottom teams.

"We put together a small sub-committee of our Management Committee that has been meeting online on a regular basis," Kent explained. "We discussed a number of proposals among ourselves and felt that was the fairest one within the time constraints.

"We could play five weekends in one code first and then play the other code when we finish in an inter-county championship. If we get approval from the clubs we will look at that closer to the time, depending on the number of weeks we get."

Counties have been encouraged to restructure local championships to fit a potential autumn schedule and had an online fixtures workshop illustrating how to go about this last month. GAA president John Horan has indicated that as long as social distancing provisions are in place generally, a return to play will not be risked.

Irish Independent