The GAA has confirmed that inter-county senior challenge matches can proceed from tonight.

An earlier date of 10 May had been conveyed but the GAA issued an update this evening confirming this date had been brought forward to 5 May.

Earlier, inter-county minor and under-20 teams received a huge boost with the news that full-contact training can begin from next Monday, 10 May. Games in these cohorts will be permitted from 7 June.

In the coming days, the Central Competitions Control Commitee (CCCC) will also publish a schedule for both the completion of 2020 competitions and dates for 2021 inter-county competitions at the respective levels.

On Tuesday, the Government provided clarity on this area to the GAA, Ladies Gaelic Football Association and Camogie Association.

On Wednesday morning, inter-county managers from the 2020 season were informed by the GAA that training would resume on Monday.

It was uncertain if this would also mean a return to play for under-20 teams also but - in a note to counties this lunchtime - the GAA has clarified that it will.

Meanwhile, attendance of backroom teams and additional panel members for 2021 will be limited to what is provided for in general rule: 26 players (senior), 24 (minor/under-20).

However extended panel members can watch games from specified viewing areas.

In the note to counties the GAA explained: "For safety purposes and in order to minimise Covid risk, only these players will be granted entry to the controlled zone (dressing room and pitchside area).

"However, for the upcoming Allianz Leagues and senior inter-county championship games, additional panel members can be accommodated in general viewing areas.

"Counties will be contacted in the coming days and asked to register the names of all playing members of their panels with the CCCC.

"As in 2020, a maximum of 14 additional backroom personnel only will be granted access to the venue and controlled zone. The ultimate composition of this number is at each county's discretion but must contain the County Chairperson and Secretary (or their nominees).

"In total 40 persons per team only are permitted access to the controlled zone (38 for minor/U20) on match days. Additional players, outside of the matchday 26, must be accommodated elsewhere (ie, general viewing areas)."

The note also reminded counties that adults' return to club training (in the 26 counties only) will recommence on 10 May. Outdoor training is permitted in pods of a maximum of 15 people (including coaches).

However, games are not allowed, and indoor facilities must remain closed (with the exception of toilet facilities).

A GAA note to counties read:

"In the interim, we would remind all Clubs in the 26 counties of the following:

  • Until May 10th, only training for underage teams (non-contact and in pods of 15) is permitted. "Underage teams" means any registered team at U-18 level or below.
  • All indoor facilities must remain closed (exception: toilet facilities).
  • Fundraising events on GAA property are not currently permitted.
  • Gym facilities must remain closed (exception: Senior Inter County players may use their relevant Club Gym for individual training as long as they are following the advice in the Inter County Return to Training and Play document
  • Construction work We have received a number of queries in relation to whether construction work at club and county grounds can recommence – this has been permitted from May 4th last
  • Fundraising Events Outdoor fundraising events on GAA property are not currently permitted in either jurisdiction. This includes drive in events (such as Drive in Bingo Drive in Movies). We await further clarification from governments and will provide a further update when available."