Donegal manager Bonner wants G...

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Donegal manager Bonner wants GAA to provide clarity on post-COVID return

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

4:10 PM - 9 Apr 2020



Donegal football manager Declan Bonner has called on the GAA to set a provisional date for a return to action. 

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic the Allianz Leagues have been suspended and the start of the championships put on ice.

So far, only two Football Championship games have been called off - both of them Connacht quarter finals involving London and New York.

Last week, GAA Director General Tom Ryan told Sport For Business Leadership that the lack of action is having a direct and profound effect on the association's finances, "It’s already having a really serious impact on things.

"Central Council-wise, there’s probably about €60m at risk. All we have is matches. That’s all we have."

Ryan suggested that the remaining league matches could be inter-mingled with the championship, in whatever form that takes, "If there was a possibility to play some of those games interspersed in the middle of a Championship, as of when teams became available to play off a final league game, you might do that.

"Or you might play them before the Championship would restart in lieu of inevitable challenge matches that people would want to play."

But Bonner's told the Donegal Democrat, he and his players need an idea of when they can return.

"There will be a championship, possibly in July", Bonner told the Donegal paper.

"But it will probably be on a reduced scale like a knock-out later on.

“I can’t see any football being played in the month of May or June, but there is a possibility that the championship will take place in July or August."

Donegal are due to begin their defence of the Anglo-Celt Cup next month with an Ulster quarter-final against Tyrone.

Bonner doesn't agree with the doomsayers for this year's championship, "I understand people’s concerns, but I think it is a bit premature to be writing off the championship just yet and we are still only in early April.

"If the GAA could set a provisional date so that we could start planning accordingly."

"Our backroom teams can then start to taper training to a particular date and even if that does not happen at least players will have had a positive target to work towards."

But Bonner concedes that such matters are out of his - and indeed the GAA's - hands.

His daughter Amara works as a doctor at Letterkenny University Hospital, "A time frame would be great but there are more pressing things out there at the minute with our front -line staff.

"Yes, Amara is in the front line and we are very proud of her, but modern technology is great.

“It is hard to believe that the whole world has come to a standstill over this virus and it gives us a whole new perspective on things.

"We now have plenty of time to think but we also need fresh air for our mental health."

Bonner says he has been in regular contact with his panel, and that they have been keeping up their own personal fitness regimes.



Read more about

All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Allianz Football League Coronavirus Covid-19 Declan Bonner Donegal Tyrone Ulster Football Championship

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