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McIntyre hopes for club reprieve


John McIntyre. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE

John McIntyre. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE

John McIntyre. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE

Former Galway and Offaly hurling manager John McIntyre is holding out hope that club championships can still be salvaged this year, with a window of opportunity possibly presented as the Government outlines plans to ban gatherings of 5,000 or more until the end of August at the earliest.

McIntyre is back coaching his home club in Tipperary, Lorrha, and feels that if there is any relaxation in social-distancing protocols that would allow games to go ahead, the benefits would be enormous.

"Club games, by their nature, attract smaller crowds, there is less travelling involved for respective teams and their supporters.

"Assuming that Covid-19 isn't stalking the country in three or four months' time, like it is now, you'd be hoping against hope that there could be some way to organise games that wouldn't compromise the health of the players involved and mentors and supporters," he said.

"If it came to a situation where players had to tog out in their homes before arriving at the venue and all the pre-game preparation would be conducted out in an open field and everybody attending would have to wear masks... I'm just throwing it out there.

"But at the end of the day, nobody is going to be involved in a game or a pastime that potentially could compromise people's health and the GAA have been very responsible, as have all sporting organisations, in their response to this."

McIntyre accepted there was "no solution" to the issue of distancing on the field of play, especially for amateurs.

"I don't see players' intent and level of commitment being compromised by the fear of contagion. We are dealing with fit athletes. Touch wood, that seems to be some form of ammunition against contracting the virus and even if you do, the implications aren't as serious."