GAA takes first step in its return to play road map

With hurling and football restarting this week, the draw for the new-look Brooks Galway Senior A Hurling Championship has taken place.

The format of this year's event has been condensed from two groups of six teams to three of four teams in order to complete the championship ahead of the revised All Ireland series.

Inter-county football and hurling will follow at the end of October, with the green light for the return to training on Monday September 14.

But for now it is in the towns and villages where Gaelic action has begun after a lengthy Covid-19 hiatus. And Galway Hurling board chairman Paul Bellew says the response from all clubs has been hugely positive.

"The feedback on returning to play has surpassed expectations, with every team stating their intention to play again," he says.

"We had expected a significant reduction in junior teams as some struggle with numbers, but all have reaffirmed their positions, which has been a pleasant surprise."

According to a recent survey there were expectations of a 20 per cent fall off, but instead, he says, there has been "massive enthusiasm" with clubs looking for return to play information "through the roof".

In a revised senior club championship, Galway has ensured all its teams have a minimum of three competitive games that will take place over the next two months, which, he says, is important for communities in the county.

Inter-county action then takes over in October, which will bring its own demands as the weather changes and also with the Liam McCarthy Hurling Championship reverting to a straight knock-out provincial championship.

"Starting inter-county hurling at a different time of year brings its own challenges, but it is going to be a short winter with games coming thick and fast for both hurling and football - it really is a change."

Senior hurling manager Shane O'Neill has stated his intention to give new players who catch the eye a chance.

"Our squad is fluid. It is 36, but it not defined for the remainder of year. We will see who has form and who hasn't," he says.

With Galway now fixed to play Wexford in the Leinster semi-final at the end of October, there is a real focus for the hurlers.

"We are in a semi-final. If you win, you will be out every second week; if you lose, you could be out every week, so the trick is to keep winning, but it's a long way away and there is a lot of hurling for all the boys in the clubs."

Brooks Galway Hurling Championship

First round of games in the Senior B and Senior A Championships will be 1 v 2 and 3 v 4.

Second round of games will be 4 v 1 and 2 v 3 and Third Round of games will be 1 v 3 and 2 v 4.

GROUP ONE:

Tynagh-Abbey/Duniry

Cappataggle

Loughrea

Tommie Larkins

GROUP TWO:

Turloughmore

Liam Mellows

Clarinbridge

Oranmore Maree

GROUP THREE

Sarsfields

Portumna

Castlegar

St Thomas

Brooks Senior B Championship

GROUP ONE:

Kinvara, Ballinderreen, Craughwell, Gort

GROUP TWO:

Kilimordaly, Ardrahan, Athenry, Beagh

GROUP THREE:

Mullagh, Kilnadeema/Leitrim, Ahascragh/Fohenagh

Padraig Pearses

Brooks Galway Intermediate Championship

First round games will be 1 v 2 and 3 v 4. For Group D, it will be 1 v 2, Moycullen bye.

GROUP A:

Kiltormer, Abbeyknockmoy, Castlegar, Sylane.

GROUP B:

Carnmore, An Spideal, Kilconieron, Athenry

GROUP C:

Killimor, Rahoon/Newcastle, Turloughmore, Annaghdown

GROUP D:

Kilbeacanty, Meelick/Eyrecourt, Moycullen.

 

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