THE GAA HAS announced that next year’s All-Ireland club senior finals will move from their usual St Patrick’s Day slot to a new date in January.
Ard Chomhairle made the call to condense the schedule, which will see the senior semi-finals in hurling and football played across the weekend of 4/5 January in 2020. The finals will be played on Sunday 19 January.
“The move is part of an overall commitment to condense the fixture calendar, create opportunities for club activity and would also allow counties in the Allianz Leagues to access players who were previously unavailable because they were playing in All-Ireland senior club semi-finals and finals,” the GAA’s statement read.
The club finals have long been a staple of the diet on of the festivities on 17 March, but the long gap between the provincial finals and the All-Ireland series have caused problems.
Due to April being used as a club month without any inter-county action, the earlier finish to the leagues meant players from the All-Ireland club finalists missed almost the entire league campaign with their counties.
The GAA also unveiled the proposals for Tier 2 All-Ireland senior football championship that will be debated at a Special Congress at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on October 19.
In both proposals, the Tier 2 competition features Division 3 and 4 sides that did not reach their provincial final.
Proposal A suggests running it the 16-team competition off on a knock-out basis, with the possibility of it being organised on a geographical basis – northern and southern conferences for first round ties, quarter-finals and semi-finals to ensure less travel for teams and supporters, while also retaining local rivalries.
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The semi-finals would be the only senior inter-county GAA events on their respective weekend – barring a major replay.
Proposal B is broadly similar, but it features an initial round of games which then creates a winners’ group and a losers’ group and so offers beaten counties a way of playing their way back into contention.
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