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Open Thread: How should the GAA run the rest of the season when coronavirus ban is lifted?

All GAA activity has been suspended until 29 March.

The GAA has a number of options it could pursue for how the rest of the season will look.
The GAA has a number of options it could pursue for how the rest of the season will look.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

WE’RE ALL IN something of a limbo at the moment.

It probably wasn’t a surprise to see the GAA impose a blanket ban on all activity until 29 March in an effort to combat the Covid-19 outbreak. It was the only sensible option, although it’s very unlikely that the ban will be lifted by that date.

And putting the GAA calendar on hold won’t cause much outrage if it can stall the spread of infection. But the extended lay-off certainly does present some interesting questions for the GAA as to how the rest of the season will unfold.

Prior to the ban, the Division 1 Allianz Hurling league was heading for the quarter-final stages while the finals and relegation play-offs were on the horizon for Division 2 and Division 3.

The football leagues were at an advanced stage as well. There were two rounds left to play before the knockout phase of the competition.

With the league still incomplete in both codes, that could have implications on the hurling and football championships. 2020 is a unique year for the GAA.

The new second tier All-Ireland football championship, which has been called the Tailteann Cup, is due to start this year.

It will consist of teams who finish in Division 3 and Division 4 this year — teams relegated from Division 2 along with those who remain in the bottom two tiers at the end of the league.

Teams who earn promotion out of Division 3 will stay in the Sam Maguire competition.

So with all that in mind, how should the GAA proceed with the 2020 season?

Should they scrap the leagues entirely? In that case, they would also also have to postpone the commencement of the Tailteann Cup until 2021.

Could the GAA use the club-only month in April to fulfill some of the inter-county fixtures? Or would that just be another example of offering up the club player as the sacrificial lamb?

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What about reformatting the hurling and football championships into straight knockout tournaments and replacing the Super 8s in football with the old-style quarter-finals?

Would you like to see the GAA explore the option of finishing the leagues after the championships finish up? Bear in mind however, that that could have ramifications for the club championship.

There is a definite air of uncertainty at the moment. The GAA’s ban is expected to end on 29 March, but as the Covid-19 outbreak continues to spread, we could well be looking at a longer period of inactivity.

What do you think the GAA should do when the ban is lifted?

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