Summer of Sport 2021: GAA updates timeline for club and county competitions

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There's a lot of uncertainty over what shape the GAA Championships will take. Pic: INPHO
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At a time when people crave the tradition of sporting events, the world of sport is sadly just as uncertain as the day-to-day one we live in.

However, there will be an action-packed summer of sport, we're just not sure how it will shape up.

There is a sizeable asterisk looming over the sporting calendar this summer, as the Covid-19 situation can change things at short notice, but we do have a rough outline of how it will look.

Highlights will include the GAA Championships, Euro 2020 and the Lions tour.

Here, we take a look ahead to a summer of sport (hopefully with fans present).

National Hurling & Football Leagues — May 8th/15th

GAA president Larry McCarthy is confident this year’s intercounty season can play out without a hitch.

At the start of April, the GAA confirmed intercounty squads would be given the green light to resume training on April 19th, ahead of the beginning of the National Hurling League on the weekend of May 8th, followed by the start of the National Football League the following weekend.

The Leagues are set to run for six weeks, but the business end of things will look a bit different to normal. No Division 1 final will be held in the Hurling, meaning joint-winners will be crowned. Meanwhile, the Football final could take place on the weekend of June 18th, provided neither team is playing in a Championship match the following weekend.

US PGA Championship — May 17th to 23rd

Another one of the big ones on the golf calendar takes place from May 17th-23rd. The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort will play host to the tournament this year.

French Open — May 23rd

This year's tournament at Roland Garros in Paris is due to start this year on May 23rd but the tennis major could be delayed for a second year on the trot due to the Covid-19 crisis in France.

League Cup final — April 25th

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Jose Mourinho is hoping for his first trophy win as Tottenham boss.

The EFL Cup final has been delayed from its usual February date in the hope of having supporters present. Jose Mourinho and Tottenham will attempt to deny Manchester City a fourth League Cup victory on the trot.

The return of fans will be tested at the home of English football with up to 4,000 spectators expected.

FA Cup final — May 15th

The showpiece in the English football calendar takes place on May 15th at Wembley. There are expected to be 21,000 fans in attendance for the FA Cup final.

All-Ireland Hurling & Football Championships — June to August 22nd/29th

Leaving very little breathing room after the Leagues, the Hurling and Football intercounty Championships will kick-off in June.

The Football Championship will follow a straight knock-out format, similar to 2020, with the All-Ireland Football final set for August 29th, preceded by the All-Ireland Hurling final on August 22nd.

Euro 2020 – June 11th to July 11th

As things stand, Euro 2020 is still due to be staged across 12 cities, including Dublin.

However, UEFA insist host cities will have to have at least some fans present, so it looks unlikely that games in the Aviva Stadium will go ahead.

As the Irish Examiner reports, the 51,000-capacity national stadium is scheduled to stage three groups matches and a last-16 tie from June 14th but the cautious approach taken by the State around easing lockdown restrictions has raised doubts about that plan.

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Dublin's status as a Euro 2020 host city remains uncertain.

FAI chief executive Jonathan Hill has admitted Dublin would only be retained by UEFA if health authorities permitted spectators back into stadia.

The semi-finals and final are due to take place at Wembley so there will be fans at these games, it remains to be seen how many.

Copa America — June 11th to July 11th

The Copa America takes place at the same time as Euro 2020, it was also delayed from last year.

US Open — June 17th to June 20th

The 2021 United States Open Championship will be the 121st US Open, it is scheduled to be played June 17th–20th at Torrey Pines in San Diego, California.

UFC 264: Conor McGregor v Dustin Poirier — July 10th

Conor McGregor will be looking for revenge after he suffered the first knockout of his career against Dustin Poirier in January. Their trilogy bout will headline UFC 264 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Tokyo Olympic Games — July 23rd to August 8th

There will be no overseas fans at the Tokyo Olympics.

The Tokyo Summer Olympic Games will be held from July 23rd to August 8th, 2021. In bad news for Irish fans, it has been confirmed that overseas fans will not be permitted to attend the Games.

British & Irish Lions Tour 2021 – July 3rd to August 7th

The British & Irish Lions are scheduled to play a three-match test series against South Africa. Unlike previous series, where the Lions played seven additional games against local teams, in 2021 there will only be five additional games, making a total of eight.

GAA Club Season – Summer to February 2022

When the intercounty All-Ireland Championships are done and dusted, attention will turn to the club season.

Counties will be able to commence their club competitions once their county squad has been knocked-out of the Championship, so the timeframe for these competitions will remain fluid.

Once county champions are crowned, the provincial stages will go ahead at the end of this year, with the All-Ireland Club finals excepted to be held in February of next year.

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