Offaly learn Ring Cup fate as GAA confirms 2020 plans

Offaly hurlers have been drawn against Kildare in the quarter-finals of this year’s reorganised Christy Ring Cup competition.

The Ring Cup will now be played as a straight knockout competition in a condensed GAA calendar due to the Covid-19 enforced shutdown since March.

The other Ring Cup quarter-finals are Down v London, Roscommon v Wicklow and Derry v Sligo.

Offaly were relegated from the Joe McDonagh Cup last year and will therefore be taking part in the Ring Cup (third tier championship) for the first time.

Michael Fennelly’s charges will be expected to win the Ring Cup, with Down and Derry seen as potential challengers.

Overall, the GAA has confirmed arrangements for its 2020 inter-county competitions.

The confirmation comes after the recommendations of the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) were endorsed by the GAA's Management Committee.

One of the chief talking points is that there will no 'back door' in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship. Speculation had been growing in recent days that this would be the case and now it has been confirmed.

The existing provincial championship draws are being retained, which means Offaly will face Carlow in a Leinster preliminary round with the winners to meet Kildare.

Carlow are currently seeking a new manager after the resignation of Turlough O’Brien but irrespective of who takes over, John Maughan’s charges will be fancied to set up a meeting with Kildare.

The removal of the second chance dimension is very bad news for Offaly’s neighbours Westmeath, who have been already drawn against five-in-a-row All-Ireland champions Dublin.

London will be involved in the Connacht SFC, pending travel restrictions, and will therefore face Roscommon as was previously drawn.

New York will not be involved in this year's Connacht championship.

In addition to no All-Ireland footballer qualifiers, the Tailteann Cup (Tier 2 competition) has been postponed until 2021.

As expected, there will be no Super 8s series this year - with the provincial winners meeting each other in the All-Ireland semi-finals, as was the case prior to 2001.

Opening round provincial football games will start on October 31, with the All-Ireland SFC final pencilled in for Saturday, December 19.

Competition regulations dealing with venues, promotion/relegation and dates for games will be finalised by the CCCC in the coming weeks.

Hurling

The Liam MacCarthy Cup is to revert to straight knockout provincial championships – but there will be two back door rounds, with All-Ireland quarter-finals.

New draws are to be made for the Leinster and Munster SH championships – the draws will take place this evening (Friday, June 26) on the RTE 6 One news.

The All-Ireland SHC final has been fixed for Sunday, December 13.

The Joe McDonagh Cup is to stay in round robin format, with the winner promoted to the MacCarthy Cup for 2021.

But there will be no entry to the 2020 All-Ireland SHC for McDonagh Cup finalists.

The Ring and Rackard Cups will be straight knock-out; beaten quarter finalists enter relegation semi-finals, with a new draw required. The Lory Meagher is to retain its existing format.

Participation of overseas units from England in Ring, Rackard and Meagher Cups will have to be on the basis of all games being in Ireland; it is also based on no travel restrictions being in place between Ireland and Britain.

'Finish on the Day' (i.e. extra-time and penalties, if necessary) to be introduced in all inter-county knock out games, including All-Ireland finals at all levels (Senior, U20, Minor).

Finish on the day for all inter-county competitions in 2020 will be: 2 x 10 minutes of extra-time; if still level, straight to penalties (as per Central Council regulations).

Football & Hurling Leagues

Rounds 6 and 7 of the Allianz Football Leagues are to be completed – top team in each division is league winner for that division. Football League finals will not be played.

Finals in Division 2 and 3 hurling only to be completed. No Division 1 Hurling League quarter-finals, semi-finals or finals will be played – Limerick are declared Division 1A and Clare Division 1B champions for 2020.

The All-Ireland U20 football semi-finals and final are to be completed.

U20 hurling championship to be played concurrently with senior; no All Ireland U20 semi-finals, with provincial champions to meet in the All-Ireland final.

There will be no All-Ireland quarter finals in minor football or hurling.

Meanwhile, regarding second level schools’ competitions, the CCCC has recommended that competitions should be completed to provincial final stage only - no All-Ireland series at any level.

The 2020/2021 provincial and All-Ireland club championships will not take place.

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