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All-Ireland finals in July part of GAA split season proposals

The All-Ireland senior finals would be played in July as part of the proposed split calendar.

The GAA’s Fixtures Calendar Review Task Force has confirmed plans to recommend a split season between club and county fixtures from 2022.

The task force report, released on Wednesday, recommended moving inter-county competitions to the start of the year and club championships taking place in the second half of the year.

In this structure, the All-Ireland senior finals would take place in July. This year, the All-Ireland finals are being played in December as part of a revised schedule prompted by the disruption caused by the global pandemic.

The proposed model will be presented to county boards before being finalised by the Central Council in December ahead of the Annual Congress in April 2021.

The report stated that, while a split season was rejected last year, the positive response to this year’s enforced split season (due to the global pandemic) forced a re-evaluation.

The report stated: “The advantages identified in the original report were experienced at first hand by clubs in July, August and September this year, and the reaction has been significantly more favourable among players, clubs, and the membership generally than would have been expected. These included:

 – no crossover between the inter-county and club seasons,

– no interruptions due to the County game,

– no ambiguity over player availability, and

– more regularity and certainty in the planning of club fixture programmes.”

 

Under the new split season, pre-season competitions would be removed from the calendar while provincial championships would be split into two four-team groups.

As for the recommendation that the All-Ireland senior finals should be played in July, the report said:

“If the club championships were played in the first part of the season, county finals would likely have to be played as early as May in order to accommodate the subsequent provincial and All-Ireland club championships.

“Furthermore, non-championship club competitions are unlikely to thrive once club teams have exited the championship.

“By playing the intercounty season first, there is significant opportunity for league or non-championship club games to be played in late spring and early summer.

“Therefore and presuming there is acceptance of the concept of a split season in the consultation process, it is recommended that a motion be brought to Annual Congress in February 2021, to take effect in 2022, that the All Ireland Senior Finals shall be completed no later than week 29 of the calendar year.”

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