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Dublin to keep group format

County Board ready to finalise fixture plan for county championships

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CHAMPIONS: Colm Basquel of Ballyboden St Enda’s celebrates with team-mate Tom Hayes
after last year’s Dublin SFC final win over Thomas Davis at Parnell Park. Pic: Sportsfile

CHAMPIONS: Colm Basquel of Ballyboden St Enda’s celebrates with team-mate Tom Hayes after last year’s Dublin SFC final win over Thomas Davis at Parnell Park. Pic: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

CHAMPIONS: Colm Basquel of Ballyboden St Enda’s celebrates with team-mate Tom Hayes after last year’s Dublin SFC final win over Thomas Davis at Parnell Park. Pic: Sportsfile

The Dublin county board will finalise dates and fixtures for this year's club competitions early this week but are expected to proceed with their initially intended formats for both the senior football and hurling championships.

Dublin's primary competitions are run off on a round-robin basis, with four groups of four contesting the 'A' Championship in both of the codes.

Fixture-makers in the county board were eager to retain the group stages, despite time limitations and issues over dual players, in order that all teams get at least three games.

Given the narrowness of the window in which they had to plan, the county board's competition's control committee (CCC) had examined dropping the quarter-final round and going directly from the groups into the last four as one possible option.

In that format, just one team would qualify for the knock-out stages from each group.

However, it is understood that their agreed preference was to retain the quarter-finals even before the GAA's announcement on Friday evening that the club window would be expanded.

With two extra weeks to play with - club fixtures are now allowed to resume on July 17 - some of the pressure on time has eased.

Final details will be formalised over the coming days.

The revised inter-county season has not been affected by Friday's announcement, with competitions scheduled to recommence on October 17.

The GAA have yet to announce a programme of fixtures, although it is expected that the football championship will be run on a straight knock-out basis.

The rejigged All-Ireland SHC will have a backdoor facility for teams who lose a match inside their province.

This week will see GAA grounds open for activity for the first time since March 25.

Adult GAA teams can train from Wednesday coming, though only on a non-contact basis and with groups of less than 15, 10 in the six counties, before proper training and challenge games are allowed from June 29.