In news that is sure to be greeted warmly around the country, Croke Park have informed counties that inter-county Minor and U20 teams can resume full contact training from next Monday, May 10.
There has been some concern raised in recent weeks that the U20 & Minor grades were not included in the initial roadmap for the return of inter-country games, particularly with a number of games still to be played in last year’s Minor championship.
However, Croke Park informed County Boards on Wednesday that full-contact training can resume from Monday next with games in the grades allowed from Monday, June 7, while the Central Competitions Control Committee will publish a schedule in the coming days to complete the outstanding 2020 games as well as dates for the 2021 competitions.
Croke Park also clarified that attendance of backroom teams and additional panel members for 2021 will be limited to what is provided for in general rule: 26 players at senior level and, 24 at minor/U20) with a provision that extended panel members can watch games from specified viewing areas.
In the note to counties the GAA explained: "For safety purposes and in order to minimise Covid risk, only these players will be granted entry to the controlled zone (dressing room and pitchside area). However, for the upcoming Allianz Leagues and senior inter-county championship games, additional panel members can be accommodated in general viewing areas. Counties will be contacted in the coming days and asked to register the names of all playing members of their panels with the CCCC.
"As in 2020, a maximum of 14 additional backroom personnel only will be granted access to the venue and controlled zone. The ultimate composition of this number is at each county's discretion but must contain the County Chairperson and Secretary (or their nominees).
"In total, 40 persons per team only are permitted access to the controlled zone (38 for minor/U20) on match days. Additional players, outside of the matchday 26, must be accommodated elsewhere (ie, general viewing areas)."
The note also reminded counties that adults' return to training (in the 26 counties only) will recommence on May 10. Outdoor training is permitted in pods of a maximum of 15 people (including coaches).
However, games are not allowed and indoor facilities must remain closed with the exception of toilet facilities. From 7 June, subject to public health advice, club games will be permitted at all levels but must be played "behind closed doors".
A GAA note to counties read:
"In the interim, we would remind all Clubs in the 26 counties of the following:
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