The GAA is hoping for a 5 April return to inter-county activity if the country moves to Level 4 after no change to elite status under the Government's Living with Covid plan.

It comes as Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced the extension of Level 5 restrictions until 5 April.

He said the Government will examine whether it will be safe to begin easing the restrictions, including on some sporting activities, if the country can maintain downward pressure on the disease and keep numbers low.

Inter-county Gaelic games activity is not covered under the current Level 5 exemptions for elite sports, which include professional soccer, rugby and horse racing.

After a Government document appeared to erroneously group inter-county with elite professional sports as only permissible under Level 4, the Taoiseach said: "The levels are a continuity from the old plan. There's no question of that. There may be an issue with the transmission of that. But there’s no issue with the playing of elite sports."

The League of Ireland Premier Division is due to resume on 19 March, while the First Division and Women's National League start a week later.

The Six Nations and Pro14 are ongoing and horse racing is permitted. All are taking place behind closed doors.

With no resumption of inter-county GAA activity before 5 April and a minimum four-week pre-season to be incorporated, May would be the earliest time the Allianz Leagues would be able to begin.