GAA Football

John Horan: Counties will have to ''step aside'' from All-Ireland Championship in event of coronavirus outbreak in their camp

GAA president John Horan

GAA president John Horan says that county teams will have to ''step aside'' from their All-Ireland Championship campaigns if there is a coronavirus outbreak in their camps.

Speaking on RTÉ's Radio 1’s This Week programme, Horan said he recognised the tremendous morale boost that Championship action would bring to GAA fans but that safety considerations must be paramount.

He added that the GAA ''are hopeful that finance is not going to stop the inter-county Championship going ahead because the country needs it.''

The Covid-19 pandemic has already delayed the start of both Football and Hurling Championships back to the end of October, with finals pencilled in for late December, a narrow window in which to work.

"I think everybody getting involved in this will actually take on board and we will have protocols in place that if a county goes down, because of the narrow time frame in which we are running the competition, they will just have to step aside," Horan told 'This Week'.

"If we do it, we will be doing it safely.

"There are a lot of challenges in doing that. We have to be sure that the players at inter-county level are happy to do it. That's why we did the club games first this year.

"The inter-county is going to be a bit more complicated and we are putting attention to it.

"There is the financial risk of actually doing it and we’re going to take a serious look at it, counties will not have the funding to do that.

"We are hopeful that finance is not going to stop the inter-county Championship going ahead because the country needs it.

"We will have to engage the GPA (Gaelic Players Association) as well in the whole area of the comfort of our inter-county players of actually getting involved in the Championship.

"There are complexities but we are of the view that we should drive on and do it."

On the latest proposals to split the GAA season into club and county windows, as has happened this year, Horan added: "I’m getting a lot of phone calls from county chairmen and from Central Council delegates asking me to keep pushing this and drive it forward.

"I think we’ll be doing a flip; we’ll be putting the county before the club but we will hopefully be splitting the two of them."

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GAA Football