Hurling and camogie

Kids of the 26 counties to be unleashed onto sports fields

Naoise Waldron, during his Derry hurling days, is a GAA development coach in Dublin

A COUPLE of weeks after the six counties released their kids back onto sports fields, the south follows suit today with Dublin GAA development coach Naoise Waldron insisting children have been kept away from outdoors sports for “far too long”.

Due to the slower roll-out of the vaccination programmes in the 26 counties, the Irish Government was reluctant to open up fields for children even though the transmission rates of COVID19 in an outdoor setting have been proven to be negligible.

Waldron, who lined out for Derry hurlers for a couple of seasons, says he “can’t wait” to be coaching at St Patrick’s Donabate this evening.

“If it’s safe enough for children to be travelling on a bus to school and they’re sitting in a classroom all day with kids from different houses and they’re out in the yard with them...

“Once that was back, I think the children definitely should have been back [at outdoor sports]. I still don’t understand it,” says Waldron, who plays for Dublin club Cuala.

“I was down doing some shooting practice on a field recently and there was a playground beside the field and it was absolutely thronged with kids and parents.

“I think we should have been back in March, especially for sports that don’t have any long-term contact in them; we’re outdoors, we’re not using dressing rooms, they should have been back before now.”

From today in the south, children will be allowed to return to training in no-contact pods of 15 while the adult grade at club level in the south has yet to receive a return date to train.

“I’m 31 now and I’m still playing. I’m delighted to be back coaching but I can’t go back myself and train.”

In his coaching role, the former Kilkenny minor hurler has been in and out of schools and has noticed the ill-effects of lockdown on children.

“You can probably already see there are an awful lot of children who haven’t been as active as they might have been because of the circumstances.”

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Hurling and camogie