Counties who are flaunting the current GAA guidelines on collective training and trials are putting their own communities at risk, insists a prominent member of the GAA's Covid Advisory Group.
Stephen McGeehan, who is also the Ulster Council's Head of Operations, revealed to the Belfast Telegraph that another meeting of the Covid Group is due next Monday but Croke Park is expected to today confirm a minimum two-week delay to the initial January 15 date for a return to collective training for intercounty squads.
According to guidelines released by the GAA on New Year's Day: 'For the moment, Senior inter-county players may train on an individual basis only in Club or County owned gyms.'
In recent weeks, there have been reports of counties meeting collectively and some conducting extensive trials. County managers will be reluctant to call a halt to their pre-season regimes, but the guidelines look set to be extended.
"I have no problem in saying that the 15th of January date could be under threat," said McGeehan before news broke of the GAA's intention to delay.
"I do think that is something that is real, there is no point pretending that that wouldn't be the case.
"I think that counties who are active and not following the regulations are doing so at their peril. For the risk of their local parishes, their community. The guidance is there and it is there for their own protection."
He continued: "For me, as a former player and coach and all of those things, I don't see the benefit of people rushing out to get an awful lot of activity done now when there is so much uncertainty as to what next week or next month will bring.
"The calendar proposals are well set out. They are well considered, there is a lot of time spent on them and I think there was a good window there from the 15th for people to prepare and plan.
"Anybody who is not following the regulations around the gym work and collective training, I think that is not sensible and it should be called out. Because there are issues around insurance, issues around players' welfare and there are issues around protecting the community, protecting the vulnerable and that's the harsh reality, but it's the reality nonetheless."
Anecdotal evidence holds that several counties around Ireland are currently defying the collective training ban and have little interest in reversing their position; especially with the lack of a defined punishment for breaches.
McGeehan also stated that there is an appetite among those involved in administrating the games in Ulster to complete the 2020 Ulster minor football Championship.
The quarter-finals were played on December 20 and the semi-finals - where Monaghan face Fermanagh and Derry meet Tyrone - were due to be played over the weekend just past.
However, with Level 5 restrictions coming into play, the competition has been temporarily shelved.
"I think that there is a bias towards finishing the competition," McGeehan revealed.
"Clearly there is an outline in terms of when the 2021 competitions do start, but I think, given we in Ulster have got to the semi-finals stage and three games would wrap us up, there would be a bias towards playing the competition and finishing it.
"This isn't new in the GAA, 2020 competitions can be finished in 2021. Thankfully that sort of thing hasn't happened in a lot of years. What that means for the completion of the All-Ireland competitions is something we have to talk to Croke Park about as well.
"It starts to get complicated, but it gets a little less complicated by the fact there is going to be no schools football. Lads are not going to be rushing into playing MacRory Cups or Mageean Cups, that is not on the radar."