The GAA Championships have been delayed by polio, late harvests and foot and mouth, but were the 2020 Championship to be cancelled entirely due to the coronavirus pandemic, it would be a first for the 136-year-old association.

The GAA president John Horan's interview on the Sunday Game last night, where he expressed his doubt that action of any kind can return while social distancing is in action, means the prospect of a fallow GAA year is very possible.

Particularly as Horan ruled out playing the 2020 Championship in 2021, something his earliest predecessors were quite happy to do in the GAA's formative years.

GAA historian Eoghan Corry outlined on RTÉ Radio 1's Morning Ireland how delays were par for the course in the past.

"For the first 20 years of the association the All-Ireland champions were running up to two years late, it would have happened at club level in many counties. In my own county Kildare, four senior league titles were played in the same year in 1960," said Corry, who saw later delays as testament to the central role the GAA played in Irish society.

"Big, huge events in GAA history like the foot and mouth outbreak of 1941 caused the postponement of the Munster championship, So, it is reflective of the GAA's place in the community.

"When a big national emergency occurred, like 1946, the harvest was late, they postponed the All-Ireland final, so people would be there to bring in the hay that was brought in very, very late," he added.

"The polio outbreak in Cork in 1956 caused the postponement of the All-Ireland final, but we have never seen the entire championship put on hold. it is the reflective of the pretty unique structure of the GAA."

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Corry believes the GAA's unique amateur status among elite sports is behind the conservative roadmap set out, but also sees the organisation's central funding model as an issue with no income being generated.

"Most sports in modern age would have a fairly big gap between the elite, the big money generating the television end of it, and the big participation level, where you are trying to get ordinary people out on a Sunday morning.

"That break is not as clear in the GAA and it is something that people outside the country have difficulty comprehending.

"No transfer system, people playing for parish, people playing in front of 82,000 in Croke Park and going to work on Monday morning, and I think where John Horan was coming from last night is the GAA is still about that participation base.

"A lot of extra work has been loaded onto the club, this army of volunteers, the length and breadth of the country - understandably for child protection measures, but also insurance issues, compensation - they have had an awful lot of things to look after, apart from just doing what they love doing, getting pitches and team ready, asking them to become virtual policemen for social distancing as well, would have been just an extra burden, and as well know, all it take is one Twitter pile-on, a photograph to appear somewhere, and the whole reputation of the GAA could be held up," he added.

"It is very easy for where there is a break between the elite and the participation, the [Premier League] today discussing finishing the season in neutral venues, Barcelona gone back into training today, Real Madrid going back later in the week.

"The GAA does not see that kind of division between what happens at the big games in Croke Park and the 2000 clubs in the country," said Corry, who wondered if Horan's €50m estimate of the financial hit might be optimistic.

"This will impact not just on the top, but it will impact on every club in the country, because there are no Russian billionaires, there are no shareholders in the GAA. The money that goes over the gate comes back to the club."