There was more good news for clubs last week when the GUI announced that four Cups and Shields events will take place. Having selected four competitions that could potentially proceed, the mens union polled all of the participant clubs and received a strong mandate to plan for the provincial stages. Over 75% of clubs backed the plans to proceed with the AIG Senior and Junior Cups, the Jimmy Brun Shield and the Pierce Purcell Shield. The GUI had previously announced that the Mixed Foursomes and the Barton Shield would not proceed this year.
At this stage of the year most of the qualifying rounds would have been completed, and it will be another few weeks before the competitions get underway as a statement from the GUI explaComined. “It is the intention that draws and related information for these competitions will be published on Monday 29th June, with a potential commencement of matches not before 20th July 2020. The target commencement date is still subject to change to a later date, strictly dependent on public health restrictions – this will be confirmed with the publication of the draws. It remains to be determined whether the All-Ireland competitions will run to completion, or whether they will conclude at provincial level only in 2020. Also accompanying all draws will be a guidance checklist that all participating clubs must adhere to in order to prioritise safety of all concerned during matches.”
The GUI also have a comprehensive plan that takes into account the public health advice that’s likely to remain in place for the summer months. In all cases, the form of play will be match play. Matches up to at least the provincial quarter-final stage will be organised on a localised home/away basis. The team drawn in the home position hosts three matches and the team in the away position hosts two matches. In order to facilitate safe social distancing and exclusive use of equipment (including golf balls), we are planning to revise the format of the AIG Pierce Purcell Shield and AIG Jimmy Bruen Shield to four-ball (better ball). Both will be played off scratch and the qualifying handicap ranges will be as before, 5-10+ for Jimmy Bruen and 11-14+ for Pierce Purcell. It is likely that Killarney and Fermoy will be retained as Munster final venues with the dates and details likely to be released when the draws are announced next week. Following the conclusion of the provincial events, the All-Ireland Finals have been scheduled for Donegal Golf Club on a revised date of 15-18 October 2020. While all plans are dependent on public health advice, clubs will be happy with the prospect of completing the AIG Cups and Shields events this year.