GAA Football

McHugh, Comer, and O'Sullivan all back Championships going ahead

Ryan McHugh of Kilcar and Donegal at his club for the launch of SuperValu's ‘Support Where You’re From’ campaign.
Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

LEADING footballers Ryan McHugh, Damien Comer, and Cian O'Sullivan are all keen for the inter-county Championships to go ahead even if a Level 5 lockdown is implemented.

There is speculation that NPHET (the Republic of Ireland's National Public Health Emergency Team) is considering an exemption to allow top level GAA to continue and Donegal star McHugh said:

"I can only speak for myself. I'm extremely fortunate that none of my family have any underlying issues or anything like that. I do understand that there are a lot of people with a lot of fear and stuff like that with people at home but as a footballer I really do want the championship to go ahead.

"I don't want to miss out a year of my career. But I can understand that there is so much fear and stuff out there, that you could take it home to somebody. You have to understand if people are afraid and don't want to go ahead. Personally…I would love to see the championship go ahead."

Dublin defensive icon O'Sullivan – along with Comer and McHugh one of the ambassadors for SuperValu's 'Support Where You're From' campaign – commented:

"I'd share that view. I'm really looking forward to this championship. I would be very disappointed to see it come to an end. The GAA have come out from the very beginning and taken a very sound approach to Covid.

"Any time you're listening to [GAA President] John Horan he has the GAA and the wider community at heart. I'd place a lot of trust in any decision from the GAA that the championship is to go ahead. That all those concerns have been taken into account.

"I do accept that a lot of players would be put in precarious positions if we were to be in, say, a Level 5 lockdown. and they were expected to go training and mix with 30 or 40 people and then come back home to elderly parents or people with underlying conditions. But I would think that the GAA would have that all very well thought out, have an approach mapped out."

Galway forward Comer, a secondary schoolteacher in Claregalway, agreed: "I think everyone would like to see it. Obviously there are going to have to be precautions taken, the GAA are going to do their best to help out in that situation but as a country and for the people at home, they need something.

"We've seen the last few weeks the lift GAA matches being on television and streamed has given to different people around Galway here, I'm sure Donegal, Dublin and every other county.

"The excitement is building already for people thinking the championship is probably going ahead. That they're going to have a winter of actually being able to watch something on TV. I know they're probably not going to be able to go to the games."

McHugh is still hopeful that the delayed Donegal SFC Final, involving his own club Kilcar, will be played after the inter-county action ends for his county:

"It's hugely disappointing for the people of Kilcar and Naomh Conaill but, to be fair, the GAA had to do something, unfortunately it had to come.

"From our point of view it was hugely disappointing, we were really looking forward to it, we felt we were in a good position going into the final, after Naomh Conaill had beat us the last couple of years. We felt we were in a good place but unfortunately it was put back.

"At the minute we're not 100 per cent sure when it's going ahead – we've been told it will take place whenever the county season is over.

"It's probably more disappointing for the club players. We're lucky enough, the county players, that at the minute we have football to look forward to. From the club players' point of view they're hugely disappointed."

* SuperValu is championing fans throughout the 2020 season – which will include a fly-on-the-wall peek inside the homes of county superfans, during the All-Ireland Semi-Finals and the All-Ireland Final, in a new online series called 'SuperValu's Superfans'.

If you think you're a passionate fan that wears your heart on your sleeve and want to be part of SuperValu's Superfans go to www.facebook.com/SuperValuIreland for more information. Become an armchair pundit and you could be in with a chance to win your grocery shopping this Christmas. #WhereYoureFrom

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