GAA President John Horan has said the hurling and football championships could run into 2021 as he completely dismissed speculation that plans are being considered to allow inter-county players to return to training over the summer.

It had been reported over the weekend that the the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport was mulling the possibility of permitting teams to resume training in the coming weeks.

Horan, speaking to RTÉ Radio 1's Today With Seán O'Rourke programme, described that as a "nothing story", and stressed that the club game will be the first to get back up and running once it is deemed safe to do so.

"I'm quite shocked by this story, this was very much a nothing story over the weekend and to be honest with you, somewhat irresponsible," Horan said.

"It caused a nervousness among membership throughout the country: 'are we as an organisation putting the inter-county player ahead the club player?'

"We're regularly in contact with government departments and at no stage have we discussed the return to training of inter-county players with any government department. I'm kind of aghast at where this story has come from."

Horan admitted both the club and inter-county championships could now run into next year.

"We're open to that if that's a possibility," he said.

"We'd just adjust the 2021 season. I think there's a hunger and an appetite out there among both players and spectators to see the games being played.

"I think people would accept that if we were to make such a decision that it would be to the benefit of everyone involved."

Two weeks ago the GAA said that the championships were "highly unlikely" to begin before the month of July, but Horan said the prospect of a further delay is increasing.

"We're going to act totally responsibly. Social distancing of two metres is a high priority at the moment, I can't see contact sport coming on board in the short term.

"We're an amateur sport. I know there's a lot of speculation that professional sports like rugby and soccer may come back here in Ireland and overseas, but that's probably in the sense that they've cocooned their players.

"Our amateur athletes, they go back to their families, they go back to their work place.

"We can't put any of those people, or those people they come in contact with, at risk just for the sake of playing games. We won't be making any rushed decision on this.

"If and when we do return, the club scene will be our priority because 98% of our activity happens at club level.

"As we're looking at it at the moment, our return initially will be back to club activity before we engage in the inter-county playing."

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