DIRECTOR GENERAL TOM Ryan says the GAA accept responsibility for the failure to complete club championships in 2020, a decision that “weighed heavily” on him.

11 senior county finals have yet to be played after club action was suspended in October following a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases nationwide. 

Writing in the GAA’s 2020 annual report, Ryan said “it is a matter of real regret that we didn’t manage to finish the championships in every county.

“I regret also that this was largely our own fault,” he continued.

“Faced with the health risk and reputational damage from a number of high-profile post-match events we had no alternative but to suspend the games in the remaining counties.

“That day, and that decision weighed heavily on me.

“Our job is to promote games, not to stop them, but there was a greater imperative that we couldn’t shy away from. I sincerely hope those championships can be concluded.

He said the decision was “a regrettable blight on an otherwise excellent programme of games.” Remarking on competitions that did not proceed at all, such as second level schools and club All-Irelands, Ryan said “it was a summer of hard choices.”

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The Carlow native also thanked the government for their financial support in allowing the inter-county championships take place in the winter.

“Unfortunately, after the year we had endured, and with no prospect of attendance revenues, the Association was in no position to fund such an undertaking. 

“The government stepped in to underwrite the championship and it is to their credit that we all enjoyed such great games as winter closed in.

“GAA members and supporters everywhere greatly appreciated this unprecedented support at a time when we all needed it most.”

He added, “our financial losses were still unprecedented, but government supporters mitigated those losses significantly.

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“The timely introduction of the various employment support measures made it possible for us to keep our staff in employment.”