GAA freezes out British counties for remainder of 2020

GAA freezes out British counties for remainder of 2020

LANCASHIRE, London and Warwickshire GAA county teams will not be part of the inter-county action in Ireland for the remainder of 2020, following a decision by the GAA's Central Council at a virtual meeting on Saturday.

The meeting decided to formally proceed with plans to stage the All-Ireland senior, under-20 and minor inter-county football and hurling championships for this year.

The GAA's website reported that 'following consultation with the (three) counties' it was agreed that they wouldn't be involved in the 2020 championships.

However, as of Tuesday morning, Lancashire GAA say they are 'still awaiting formal communication from Croke Park or the British Provincial Council (BPC) on this decision, and the reasons behind the decision'.

They added that they were not consulted on the reasons in advance of the meeting.

Due to Covid-19 there has been no inter-county action since March 8th, with Donegal claiming the Division 3A Allianz Hurling League title that day, thanks to victory over Armagh, in the only inter-county league final to take place in any Gaelic Games code so far this year.

In a statement issued by Lancashire GAA, they say they understand the current difficulties at present due to the Coronavirus situation, but are disappointed with how they have found out about their exclusion from competition.

“Lancashire GAA appreciate that we are currently in unprecedented times and would like to request further clarification on the statement issued from the central council meeting on Saturday last,” the statement read.

“We do however feel that the BPC have not taken on board the proposal from Lancashire to play the games, and we do not feel the BPC have supported our request. The decision to prevent us from playing is very disappointing, as is the manner of how the decision was tabled and pushed through with no formal correspondence with the Lancashire County Board, despite what has been suggested.”

Lancashire GAA say that they have continued to express an interest in being involved in the Lory Meagher Cup Championship, taking into account Irish Government guidelines at the time.

At present quaratine in Ireland is being reduced from 14 to 10 days, while it is expected to be announced in the Government’s medium term plan today (Tuesday) that crowds will also be allowed at games.

“It has always been the intent of Lancashire Senior Hurling team to participate in the 2020 Lory Meagher championship should the Irish government restrictions around quarantine be lifted during the September update or that the CCCC would consider the alternative proposal submitted through the Lancashire Chairperson to the President of British Provincial Council.”

“The Lancashire County Board have already invested substantially towards the preparation for the 2020 competitions including sponsorship which will now be lost and leaves us substantially out of pocket.

“Lancashire feel that the decision taken by Central Council on Saturday last is premature and the opportunity should have been left open for the Irish government update.

“The Lancashire Chairman has made representation to both the Provincial Chair and Croke Park on an alternative proposal for the playing of the Lory Meagher fixtures within the 6 Counties in UIster, we have since been advised that this was not discussed at the Central Council meeting on Saturday last.

“The matter to exclude London, Warwickshire and Lancashire was proposed by Kildare GAA and we understand it was seconded by the British Provincial Council Chairperson.

“Lancashire CCC has set its fixtures out within the County to allow every possibility of the senior hurlers participating on the 2020 Lory Meagher competition should the Irish Government lift restrictions or the alternative fixture proposal be considered. We are seeking further clarification on this matter, including that the proposed structure of the competitions remains as it is for 2021 and that our status is guaranteed for 2021.

“Finally we would like to put on record that highlighting the fact that Lancashire GAA would not wish to put the health and wellbeing of not only our own playing squad and management at risk, the health and wellbeing of the other competing counties in the Lory Meagher competition.”

Meanwhile, owing to the reduced level of funding available as a result of the pandemic, a series of strict financial controls will be put in place by the GAA governing costs and preparation of teams.

In addition, a plan and series of protocols produced by the Association’s Covid Advisory Group facilitating the safe staging of inter-county games will be circulated to counties.