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All-Ireland finals could return to September

A return to September for All-Ireland finals is a possibility, but only if counties adopt uniformed club championships, GAA president Jarlath Burns has said.

In 2019, as part of a three-year trial, the All-Ireland deciders were moved from their traditional slots of the first (hurling) and third (football) Sunday of September.

This year’s hurling decider takes place on 21 July, with the football showpiece a week later on 28 July at Croke Park.

There have been calls for the association to revert back to September, but a motion at the 2021 Congress ensured that All-Ireland finals are to be played in July as part of the split-season model.

In his annual report last year, GAA director general Tom Ryan said the days of September All-Ireland finals are gone, but speaking on GAAGO’s new ‘Ratified’ discussion forum, Burns said the door isn’t closed on moving back to the traditional dates.

The sticking point, he says, is the different club championship formats across the country.

“There is a way of achieving that, going right back to September with the two finals,” he said.

“The difficulty is the people who are going to have to compromise are the counties with their own championships. We missed the point with what the problem was.

GAA President Jarlath Burns

“That problem is, if you are organising the Premier League fixtures, very simple, all you have to look out for are UEFA and FIFA fixtures.”

The GAA president acknowledged that hotel prices for teams and supporters were also an issue for July All-Ireland finals, and said the only way to return to September dates would be to streamline all the club championships with a master fixtures plan.

“If you are organising the GAA master fixtures plan you have to bump into 32 master fixture-making bodies, Higher Education, and multiply that by two as you have hurling and football.

“And then within that you have seven or eight different iterations of championships. It is totally ridiculous to think that we can organise a master fixtures plan around that.

“I think that would be a good compromise to say to counties, we can work the master fixture schedule in and around this iteration of club organisation.

“If you do it this way there’s where you play all your county games, there’s where you will have your county players, there’s where you will have your preparation.

“Build it all in. But if you want to continue with the old way that you had, don’t come running to us.”

Watch Derry v Donegal in the Ulster Football Championship quarter-finals on Saturday from 6.10pm, follow a live blog on rte.ie/sport and the RTÉ News app and listen to updates on Saturday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1


Watch Clare v Limerick in the Munster Hurling Championship on Sunday from 1.30pm, follow a live blog on rte.ie/sport and the RTÉ News app and listen to updates on Sunday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1


Watch Mayo v Roscommon in the Connacht Football Championship semi-finals on Sunday from 3.40pm, follow a live blog on rte.ie/sport and the RTÉ News app and listen to updates on Sunday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1


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