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Tailteann Cup in doubt for 2021: 'Something has to give' says GAA director general Tom Ryan
Tom Ryan discusses the uncertainty surrounding the 2021 GAA calendar, and in particular the Tailteann Cup; while new president Larry McCarthy gives his opinion on some of the biggest issues facing the association in the coming years.
Last Updated: 01/03/21 6:59am
Tom Ryan has cast doubt over whether the Tailteann Cup will take place in 2021.
The second-tier competition, which was set to be introduced for the first time in 2020, has not yet occurred. Due to the uncertainty surrounding the 2021 season and the amount of time the GAA will have to run their intercounty competitions within the remit of coronavirus restrictions, the first edition of the Tailteann Cup could be pushed back another year.
During his address at the GAA's Congress on Saturday, Ryan mentioned that the 'B' Championship is in doubt.
When asked by media afterwards, he elaborated that the GAA is operating with a narrower timeframe than originally anticipated.
"I suppose that logic dictates that something's going to have to give. Specifically I don't know what that it is," he explained.
"I can't remember what exactly I said [at Congress] but I didn't rule it out. From my own perspective at the moment everything seems to be challenged. To be honest I don't know what we'll be able to play and what we won't be able to play. An awful lot will depend on what latitude we're permitted by the Government and the time that we're left with.
I don't know what we'll be able to play and what we won't be able to play.
Doubt continues to surround the 2020 season
"On the theme of last year, we'll do everything we can to get as much as we can played but we haven't gone into specifics. We've all manner of contingency plans but three or four of them have already been torn up and thrown out since the start of the year. I genuinely don't know."
Last week, outgoing president John Horan said he was confident that all tournaments would be held in 2021. Nonetheless, doubt surrounds the calendar, with many suggesting the National League may fall by the wayside should there be insufficient time.
The GAA is hoping to get a green light for intercounty action in early April, which would see matches return in May.
Larry McCarthy's vision
New president Larry McCarthy stated that getting Gaelic games action back underway will be the most important undertaking of his new regime.
Aside from a return to normality, there are also several upcoming issues which may define his three-year term.
At this year's Special Congress at the end of 2021, there will be a vote on a new structure of the All-Ireland Football Championship.
While McCarthy was reluctant to publicly back either of the two options on the table, he did indicate he is keen to see a departure from the status quo.
I certainly favour change, whatever that might be.
McCarthy wants to see the All-Ireland SFC altered
"I certainly favour change, whatever that might be," he said. "I wouldn't necessarily have a preference for that particular format of the championship and I guess at this stage it would be wrong to make my preferences known.
"There's going to be a vigorous discussion on it hopefully over the course of the summer by the time we get to Special Congress so no, don't read anything into it."
Meanwhile, there are a number of significant infrastructure projects on the GAA's agenda, including the rebuilding of Casement Park in Belfast.
"Everything emanates from getting back on the field and you saw the accounts, the cupboard is bare as I said, and once we're back in then we can have some funding to be able to distribute," said McCarthy.
"I think our commitment was for £15m for the project and we'll stand by that and then let's see where the costs of it are going, let's see where the project is going. Where is it on the wish-list? Well, getting back on the field is my wish-list. There are other capital projects as well that we've committed to so we'll fund those as well. I don't have any priority in terms of one coming before the other, I can assure you."
Meanwhile, the Cork native was eager to protect the GAA's amateur ethos.
"I think we're the last great amateur sport organisation standing in the world," he said. "There's not too many more and certainly not too many who've managed to run top-class sport and grass-roots sport at the same time. No, I don't have any concerns about that the GPA might be inclined that way or against the amateur ethos at all.
"It's just more of a philosophical statement that I'd like to see the amateur ethos retained."