GAA Championships get green light despite south going to level five restrictions
THE GAA’s inter-county season has received the green light despite the Irish Government last night moving to Level Five – the most severe set of lockdown restrictions that can be imposed on the 26 counties.
The GAA and GPA will consider the government's decision to move to Level Five - but indications are the Championship will proceed.
Despite the GAA not being mentioned in Taoiseach Michael Martin's address last night, tentative assurances were given to the GAA that the Championship could proceed behind closed doors in a virtual lockdown.
Schools and childcare services will also remain open during the six-week lockdown of the south that will come into effect tomorrow and will be reviewed again after four weeks.
While the north is under different Covid19 restrictions, it’s unlikely ‘elite’ sports will be stopped here and therefore no jurisdictional issues should arise for the GAA.
Despite the Covid flare-ups among various inter-county teams – one of which forced Leitrim to pull out of their Division Three game with Down last weekend while Fermanagh travelled to Clare with a sorely depleted panel – the GAA can now plan for the games with more confidence.
However, there has been some criticism of the GAA’s testing of inter-county players, with Louth captain Bevan Duffy aiming a broadside at the Association’s hierarchy, claiming there hadn’t been any “testing at all” carried out – although this was disputed by former Kerry player and GAA pundit Tomas O Se who pointed to a Division Three squad who asked and got rapid testing of all its players.
O Se did add, however, that the GAA should implement weekly tests for all inter-county squads to reassure participants.
Antrim hurling manager Darren Gleeson and captain Conor McCann hoped the inter-county season could be concluded, but stressed in a safe manner.
Defeated Kerry hurling boss Fintan O’Connor highlighted the mental well-being dimension the games would bring to the country.
“I think it gives people a bit of hope,” O’Connor said.
“Sometimes we lose sight of the good the GAA does and there is a huge contribution to be made from a mental health point of view, just lifting the general mood of the country to have games to watch is important.”