2020 Offaly underage championships won't be completed until after minor finals

Underage structures may be reviewed

2020 Offaly underage championships won't be completed until after minor finals

Kilcormac/Killoughey captains Charlie Mitchell and Charlie Bracken with the MHC cup last year.

UNCERTAINTY continues to shroud when Offaly's oustanding club underage championships from 2020 can be finished.

None of the football underage competitions were completed within the calendar year as Covid-19 restrictions resulted in extended shut downs and Offaly reached both Leinster minor football and hurling finals in 2020. All hurling competitions except for the U-17 A shield final and U-15 B hurling were completed.

Unfortunately the Leinster minor finals didn't get to be completed. They were fixed for early January but bit the dust as Covid-19 figures rose alarmlingly after Christmas. The finals have now been fixed with the Leinster minor football final between Offaly and Meath in Mullingar on Wednesday June 30 and the minor hurling final between Offaly and Kilkenny. If Offaly win either of these, it will further delay things – the Leinster minor hurling champions go straight into the All-Ireland final while the minor football champions play an All-Ireland semi-final. In addition, the 2021 provincial minor and U-20 championships will follow quickly afterwards and county teams will be given priority while these are going on.

It has considerably reduced the window for club games and Offaly now face a battle to complete the 2020 minor (U-17), 15 and 13 championships along with the 2021 competitions.

Offaly plan on running off all competitions but they have confirmed that the 2020 club U-15 and 17 championships won't be completed until after the minor inter-county teams are finished their 2020 and 2021 campaigns. The 2021 championships will start after that.

The Offaly GAA Competitions Control Committee released a fixtures plan last week for the 2021 season but the U-15 and 17 championships were not included in this. The inter-county fixtures plan was only released last week and the CCC will now consider all available options before notifying clubs.

They have warned clubs that the available time scale has been reduced considerably and it may be necessary to review some underage championship structures.

In a communication sent to clubs last week, the CCC revealed that some clubs have expressed concern about their participation in the U-17 leagues due to the number of players on a county minor panel or in trials while some clubs have applied to enter an extra championship team.

The draft plan released last week includes dates for the 2020 and 2021 U-13 championships as well as all underage leagues. It is planned to resume the 2020 U-13 football championships on June 7 with the semi-finals while the finals have been fixed for June 13 and 14. The 2021 U-13 Hurling Championships will commence on July 29 with football starting on August 8.

It is planned to run U-13, 15 and 17 hurling and football leagues from June 16 with clubs obliged to play without their county players in these. Some changes will be made to the plan released last week in the wake of the updated Leinster Council fixtures.

The 2020 U-13 and 17 football championships are down to semi-final stage while the U-15 has a round left and this will be followed by quarter-finals.

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