Northern Ireland news

GAA clubs support social distancing with branded face masks

Bredagh GAC chairman Malcolm MacFarlane sporting the club's new face mask
Brendan Hughes

GAA clubs are helping to support social distancing measures during the coronavirus pandemic by selling their own branded snoods and face masks.

Various sports clubs across the north have begun online sales of face coverings bearing their club colours and crests.

With sporting bodies examining how to resume activities as lockdown restrictions are gradually eased, clubs hope the products can assist in curbing the spread of coronavirus.

Bredagh GAA club in south Belfast is among those which have begun selling branded face masks through their online store.

Malcolm MacFarlane, the club's chairman, said up to 40 have been sold since they were launched on Thursday night.

"We're pleasantly surprised," he said.

"Our plan is to make them available to club members and when we get back near a pitch to give these out to all our coaches.

"We're not only promoting the safety aspect, but getting the brand out there too."

He added: "I know it's difficult within any sport to do social distancing. You're going to have to put whatever measures in place you can."

Mr MacFarlane said the branding on the masks may encourage more people to wear them, particularly children.

"Say to a child 'wear a mask', they might say 'no'. Say to child 'wear a mask with the brand on it', they might do it," he said.

The customised face coverings are being provided through Klubfunder, which offers sports clubs web tools for taking payments and raising funds online.

Jeff Garrett from Klubfunder said: "When everybody gets back to the football or Gaelic world, they are going to need some protection.

"This will not stop the virus as such, but it will give them a bit of protection."

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