On top of the lingering uncertainty which surrounds the 2021 season, Offaly county board officials are still busy scenario planning for the completion of their 2020 games program.

The Faithful County still has all its 2020 adult hurling finals to complete as well as various underage competitions that they would like to finish. In addition, Offaly also have two teams in Leinster minor finals from last season.

Completing the 2020 season before tackling the 2021 fixtures remains a priority for the county's Competitions Control Committee (CCC).

"We are obviously at a stage where Covid-19 cases are still prevalent in society and we have to continue to show understanding and empathy in that regard while public health officials monitor the situation," says Offaly PRO Brendan Minnock.

"But I think a lot of people have forgotten that we also had an extra lockdown in this county in 2020 as part of a localised shutdown in the midlands. That lasted three weeks and affected our ability to get games completed.

"With the passage of time people move on and start looking forward to the 2021 season, but we still have important games to complete from last year.

"We are at a stage, like everyone else, where we are eagerly looking forward to getting back and, hopefully, we will get details on that soon. But we understand the restrictions that NPHET has in place are still there for a reason.

"When we do get going, we will have to focus on getting both seasons completed and that is going to require a lot of co-operation from clubs and everyone, because outstanding 2020 games are our priority.

"Logistically, it’s so hard to plan for, but our CCC is working behind the scenes planning for various situations, albeit without any concrete dates, to help prepare for a return to play when it does happen.

"The three games program schedules that they put forward in 2020 – to adapt to the lockdowns and restrictions - went down well."

Financially, like so many other counties, Offaly will be hard pressed to bolster their vast range of activities when games are up and running again.

In 2020, they had an excess of €260,000 expenditure over income.

"That was almost all down to lack of gate receipts," Minnock adds.

"We only got to have football finals in the county with only 200 tickets available for those games and our gate receipts in 2020 were €89,000.

"That figure was down from €359,000 in 2019 and the figure was similar in 2018. So that’s where we took the hit last year and to be honest it is impossible to make that up."

While current restrictions make it difficult to undertake fundraising campaigns, the Offaly board and its supporters’ organisation Club Faithful will hold a "Walk for Club and County" on Saturday, 27 March.

Each of the 41 clubs in the county will nominate a representative to complete a 5km walk in compliance with the current Covid-19 guidelines.

"Already, 2,000 people have contributed to that campaign and we are delighted with it and it just shows the goodwill out there for our teams," Minnock says.

"We have a significant amount raised already and it ties in with some of the work we did for the community last year when our senior hurlers raised €60,000 for two local charities - Jigsaw Offaly and Down Syndrome Offaly.

"We put something back into community last year and now you can see the community behind us this time.

"If at all possible, it will be a huge relief to see a roadmap soon. We have understanding with the situation being so delicate out there but, for the sake of young people, players and supporters and club officials, the sooner we get back, the better.

"Everyone is aware of the bigger picture but many peoples’ lives revolve around the GAA," he added.