GAA Football

One week would finish the National Leagues: Armagh assistant Jim McCorry

Armagh assistant manager Jim McCorry says it's too early to be making forecasts about what happens in October

ARMAGH assistant boss Jim McCorry doesn’t believe the GAA should give up on completing this season’s Allianz National League campaigns if Gaelic Games resume later in the year.

On The Sunday Game, GAA President John Horan effectively shut the door on the Leagues, saying: “At this stage we’d be inclined to say we’ll struggle to finish them.”

However, Horan said he couldn’t see a way around social distancing in the medium term but didn’t rule out some kind of abbreviated Championship being played after October.

Admitting to feeling a “little deflated” by the President's interview, McCorry contended if Gaelic Games did resume before the end of 2020 it would only take seven days to finish the Leagues before moving into Championship.

“The Leagues could be finished within a week,” said the Armagh native.

“A Saturday or Sunday game and another Saturday or Sunday game and that is the Leagues completed. Don’t have finals and going into next year everyone knows where they stand. And it would be the perfect run-in for teams preparing for the Championship…

“I can’t understand why you wouldn’t want to finish the Leagues. If you’re going to play some football, there is no reason why you can’t finish the Leagues. If you’re not going to play anything in 2020 then that’s a moot point.

“I don’t think anything should be ruled out when we don’t know where we’re going to be in July.”

Armagh were well placed for promotion to Division One for the first time in Kieran McGeeney’s reign with just two rounds of games remaining – against Roscommon (h) and Clare (a). Their last outing was on Saturday March 7, a resounding win over Fermanagh at Brewster Park.

But judging by Horan’s take on things, the Leagues will be declared void – even though it’s mid-May.

McCorry added: “Nobody can crystal-ball gaze. In October we could be facing an even worse situation, God forbid, and having another spike.

“But if you’re going to give a wee bit of hope one week I don’t think it’s right to take it away the next week. The bottom line is it’s about saving lives and we don’t want to put anybody in jeopardy – from the players to the backroom team to the volunteers in the Athletic Grounds, county officers and supporters, everybody who’s involved in our games.

“At the same time I think you can still plan ahead and say that potentially things could start with certain conditions if the government’s social distancing changes, based on medical and scientific evidence. I just think saying club football can resume in July and then county in October and then saying it can’t go ahead is just a bit deflating.

“If we’re going into the realm of we can’t play football until there’s a vaccine then there’ll not be anything until 2021, at the earliest, according to all the experts. Now we have to be guided by the government. There are so many imponderables that I think it’s so difficult to make a clear call at this stage.”

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GAA Football