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Brennan's brief GAA will feel a huge sigh of relief next Monday morning when the Association gets back into action

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Con O'Callaghan of Dublin in action against David Toner, left, and Séamus Lavin of Meath during last year's Leinster SFC final. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Con O'Callaghan of Dublin in action against David Toner, left, and Séamus Lavin of Meath during last year's Leinster SFC final. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Con O'Callaghan of Dublin in action against David Toner, left, and Séamus Lavin of Meath during last year's Leinster SFC final. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Barring any last example of a hurling or Gaelic football team breaking the training rules, the GAA will feel a huge sigh of relief next Monday morning when the Association gets back into action.

Inter-county teams can train from that day and they can play from various dates in May.

The draws for the six provincial Championship will be made next Monday and Tuesday too and provide everyone with a roadmap to the All-Ireland Finals which are now scheduled for the last two Sundays in August.

By doing so, the GAA seems to have given up on having any decent-sized crowds at their semi-finals and Finals this year. Had they opted for an October, November, December schedule, something like last year, vaccinations may well be so advanced by then that serious numbers of spectators could be accommodated in Croke Park.

But no, the clubs were given that slot and so the inter-county players look set to do their thing in front of empty stands and terraces for another season.

It’s yet another instance of the GAA being unable to reconcile the fact that while inter-county players at all levels are only two per cent of the Association’s active membership, they are the two per cent that people want to see play. It’s like trying to square a circle.

One thing the draws will do is demonstrate that the hurlers have got the best of things in 2021. More Allianz League matches than their football counterparts and a backdoor in the Championship. So no hurlers’ summer will be a case of ‘one and done’.

It surely is for whichever of Clare, Waterford and Limerick footballers might draw Kerry in the Munster Championship – and whoever gets the Dubs in the Leinster Football Quarter-Final doesn’t have much hope of prolonging their season

The most interesting draw, however, might happen in Ulster? There, four counties, Donegal, Armagh, Monaghan and Tyrone, have Division One status in the League. But none of them are the best team in the province, that being Cavan the champions.

All five of those teams could be on the same side of the nine-team draw next week. Can you imagine them playing each other, week after week, with the loser going straight home every time.

No wonder you hear whispered stories of inter-county players being given GPS monitors to wear while training on their own. Of players being given their own, particular, gym programmes, and even the loan of exercise bikes so that they could pedal for more than 5km without leaving their homes.

Yes, everybody wants to get that edge, so that they will not fal loff the edge of the cliff as soon as the action starts again next month.

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