GAA Football

Ulster GAA chief Brian McAvoy makes vaccine call ahead of club championships

Ulster GAA secretary Brian McAvoy has urged young people to receive the Covid-19 vaccine with club championships set to get under way
Neil Loughran

ULSTER GAA secretary Brian McAvoy has urged young people to receive the Covid-19 vaccine ahead of the start of club championships.

The All-Ireland hurling Championship draws to a close when defending champions Limerick face Cork on Sunday, but the football final has been moved back from August 29 until September 11 after a Covid outbreak led to Tyrone's semi-final showdown with Kerry being postponed.

The likes of the Antrim SFC is already under way and, with the inter-county action drawing to a close, club championship action is set to get under way across Ulster in the comi.ng weeks.

While acknowledging it is “a personal choice” whether or not to get vaccinated, McAvoy insisted the benefits are “clear to see”.

“Young people have sacrificed much during the pandemic, but now the vaccine offers a route map towards a way of life that only 18 months ago we took for granted,” he said.

“The return of spectators to sporting events has had huge benefits to society and long may this continue. However, we want these games and sporting events to continue and as the inter-county season draws to a conclusion, the club championships will take centre stage in the GAA calendar.

“In recent weeks we have witnessed the postponement of games at numerous levels in the Association as Covid-19 case numbers rise, and it is incumbent on all of us to take whatever measures we can to reduce the risk of further spread of the virus and to protect our families and communities.

“The contagious ‘Delta' variant has become the dominant form of coronavirus and more young people have become ill through this strain than had been the case with previous ones. “Worryingly, the vast majority of people hospitalised in recent weeks have not been vaccinated and this is putting additional pressure on an already over-burdened health service workers. The evidence therefore suggests that you are less likely to become seriously ill if you have been vaccinated.

“I realise that it is an individual choice for each person but in choosing whether or not to take the vaccine, they should do so based on information available from reliable sources. For me the benefits are clear for all to see, both on and off the GAA fields.

“Vaccinations are available at a range of facilities in both jurisdictions, including in some local pharmacies, and this weekend will see a concerted effort in the north to get more people vaccinated under the ‘Big Jab Weekend' initiative.”

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GAA Football