CORK County GAA PRO Joe Blake says that it’s a case of nearly trying to fit two seasons into one, as the domestic fixture list is published this week.
Under the guidance of CCC chairman Pat Horgan and CEO Kevin O’Donovan, a huge amount of planning has been completed over the past few weeks.
“We will be using every date available, once we commence with the new look leagues on Monday, June 7. Basically, teams’ respective league positions from January 2020 have been frozen and there will be no relegation or promotion.
“Instead, the new competitions will take on a league cup format with each club having three games, before the semi-finals and finals take place.
“Competitions are set to take place over 10 weeks. Football will be first up on Bank Holiday Monday, June 7, with both codes then alternating over a 10-week period. It has been agreed that all weekends will now be designated across the county as either football or hurling weekends.”
According to Joe Blake, the issue of finishing a number of 2020 divisional competitions will also have to be given immediate priority.
“The big headache will be concluding these championships as soon as possible.
“The county junior championships will be starting towards the latter part of June. It’s important that we know who will be moving to intermediate in both codes. As teams get knocked out, it will allow the various divisions to make their draws for the 2021 championships.
“We have tried to accommodate as many people and as many clubs as possible. We hope that all clubs will understand that in making out this new fixture roadmap, we have endeavoured to be fair to everybody, given the unique circumstances that we find ourselves in this year.”
Looking further ahead, when all the midsummer inter-county and club activity concludes, thoughts will then instantly turn to the 2021 championships set to start in the autumn.
Blake again says that deadlines exist here too.
“We have to be mindful regarding the deadlines for Munster club competition in November. Last season proved to be great success in the group stages with promotion and relegation issues adding excitement. Unfortunately, we had limited or no crowds.
“However, with the current state of the vaccine rollout, hopefully, that situation will change as the summer progresses.
“All going well we will be able to complete all competitions in 2021 and start afresh again in 2022 with the split season.”