Kerry GAA secretary Peter Twiss expects that we should see the publication of the 2021 GAA inter-county calendar over the coming days.
The return to inter-county training has been confirmed for Monday April 19th.
It is thought the National Football League will get underway on the weekend of May 16th with also the possibility of the National Hurling League beginning a week earlier on the weekend of May 9th to accommodate a five-match run.
The Football Leagues will have two groups of four which will see Kerry paired with Dublin, Galway and Roscommon.
The GAA is sitting down this week to come up with a complete planner for the completion of the 2021 inter-county season. We expect details of the 2021 inter-county calendar sometime later this week but there is also the added headache of a chunk of 2020 fixtures to finish both here in Kerry and at national level.
From what we can make out at the time of writing, it looks like the 2021 Allianz Leagues will be starting in mid May with a possible start date of May 15th for the Kerry footballers. Kerry are due to be located in the southern half of Division 1 alongside Roscommon, Galway and Dublin. If that remains to be the case, and in the current environment no one can quite be certain what follows next, Kerry should have two games at home and one away. The original plan was for Kerry to start the League with a home game against Roscommon and then they would travel to play Galway before hosting Dublin for what would be a mouth watering end to the three game league group stages.
Before we get to any of that however the GAA have to decide what they are going to do with the remainder of the 2020 GAA inter-county season which needs to be completed.
Last month, former Galway hurler Franny Forde got people talking when he suggested via Twitter that the GAA’s split season could pave the way for the resurrection of the Railway Cup. Forde offered the October Bank Holiday as a potential date, with the tournament involving players whose club seasons were already over.
Kieran Donaghy was one of those immediately on board, and tweeted in response to Forde, “triple headers Thursday and Friday men and women. (kids in free) and the 4 finals on the Sunday at 12, 2, 4 and 6. Throw in the all star awards men and women on the Sunday night.” A brief exchange between two men on social media does not represent the whole GAA community, but it is hard not to be excited when such ideas are thrown into the open. There is a strong chance we will never again see a vibrant interprovincial championship, but let’s entertain the possibility for now because the post-Covid GAA world is shaping up to be a different place to the one we knew before last year.
It may seem like the GAA have little to gain by bringing back a competition that died a miserable death after its 2016 renewal, but the lack of a strong recent history is exactly why it can be an asset to the organisation. When conversations around changing the structure of inter-county competitions occur, there tends to be a resignation that change can only happen slowly, that ambition needs to be kept at a reasonably low level. Everyone has skin in the game when it comes to inter-county conversations and positive change is hard to affect. The Railway Cup, though, is a forgotten format and no one cares too much whether or not it exists.