Ladies Football Association still hope to run league competitions this spring

Start date has been pushed back to February 27 for now
Ladies Football Association still hope to run league competitions this spring

Aine O'Sullivan of Cork scores a point, despite pressure from Maria Reilly of Mayo, during the Lidl Ladies National Football League Division 1 tie. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

THE Ladies Gaelic Football Association have confirmed that they hope to go ahead with the national league in a few weeks time.

The opening round has been pushed back one week to February 27/28 following the decision to ban collective inter-county training for the month of January, and they hope to go ahead that weekend, once they get clearance to do so.

The LGFA, as per their 2021 master fixture plan agreed by Central Council in mid-December had planned to start the league on the weekend of February 20/21, but when collective training for the month of January was halted they took the decision to put it back by one week.

Similar to the GAA, the LGFA has introduced a changed league format for 2021. Each county will play a minimum of three games before the semi-finals and finals are run off in late March and early April.

The LGFA has not, however, opted for a split season model in 2021. The All-Ireland ladies football finals will continue to be played in September, almost a month and a half after the GAA’s inter-county season has wrapped up.

The group stages of the All-Ireland ladies football championship will throw-in on Saturday, July 17, the same weekend the men's All-Ireland SFC concludes. The All-Ireland senior quarter-finals are fixed for August 7, the semi-finals are scheduled for August 21/22, with the junior, intermediate, and senior deciders taking place on September 4/5.

May has been designated as a club-only month and while June has also been listed as a club window in the LGFA master fixture plan, county teams are permitted to resume training from the beginning of June.

LGFA CEO Helen O’Rourke has asked county panels to observe the January ban on collective training.

“I fully appreciate the frustrations the additional restrictions may place on our inter-county players and management teams. However, the safety of everyone in the game and indeed in the broader community has to be our primary focus. It has never been more important for our players, coaches, and officials to follow both the Government guidelines and our own provisions around training.” 

Meanwhile, the Ladies Gaelic Football Higher Education Championships for the 2020/21 academic year have also been suspended due to the current national health restrictions.

In a statement, they said: “A decision on the future of the 2020/21 championships will be taken at the LGFA HEC AGM, which is currently scheduled to take place on Wednesday, June 2.

“National Health restrictions will determine whether this meeting will take place in person or online.

“The decision to postpone games means that there has been no competitive action in the current academic year, and is in line with other restrictions which have severely curtailed the ability of all teams to organise training (including contact training) and games since the suspension of the 2020 O’Connor Cup and other championships last March.”

Donal Barry LGFA HEC chairperson said: “We are extremely conscious of the challenges that Covid-19 has presented to our players both on personal and playing levels, and we have taken the decision to suspend our competitions rather than cancel at the moment, but we will look again at this in June. 

"Playing college football is as much about the social aspect as the competing aspect and we hope to be in a position later in the year to make a more informed decision as to whether we can facilitate championship football or not.

“We ask all our members to follow the government guidelines in tackling Covid and we hope that once we have defeated this pandemic that we can get back to enjoying our sport.” 

UCC’s Ciara McCarthy and Roisin Ambrose of UL in last year's Ashbourne Cup. Third Level competitions are now off. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
UCC’s Ciara McCarthy and Roisin Ambrose of UL in last year's Ashbourne Cup. Third Level competitions are now off. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

To keep members busy club officers and volunteers are invited to register in advance for two upcoming online webinars, on tomorrow and Wednesday night, from the suite of modules offered under the Club Leadership Development Programme.

This training is coordinated by the GAA’s National Officer Development Committee and registration, in advance, is through https://learning.gaa.ie/officertrainingcalendar.

On Tuesday night the webinar is on Essential Communication Skills and Wednesday the topic is Microsoft OneDrive and forms, both starting at 7pm.

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