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Broderick braced for Tinryland's tentative return to normality


Paul Broderick gets his temperature checked at Tinryland GAA club

Paul Broderick gets his temperature checked at Tinryland GAA club

Paul Broderick gets his temperature checked at Tinryland GAA club

Normality at last. Or at least, a post peak-Covid version of it.

This morning, members of the Tinryland club, just 5km south of Carlow town, trickled back towards the centre of their community for the first time since March 25.

Not all at once, but in small, pre-authorised, symptom-free groups.

Much has changed.

Since they last gathered, their clubhouse and grounds have been used as a drive-through testing centre for coronavirus. Mercifully, it went out of service early due to a lack of demand.

"I put my name forward as a club contact if there was something that needed to be done," insists Paul Broderick, Tinryland's most recognisable member.

"But I was never needed. And I haven't been back inside the place since it closed. It's been a long time."

Today, like members of all units of the Association, Tinryland's people have acquainted themselves with adjusted protocols.

Old habits die particularly hard in the GAA but in such circumstances, they'll perish out of necessity.

There are four entry points to Tinryland GAA club, situated before the N80 flyover on the N9.

Every hour the club is open, a Covid supervisor will be on hand to ensure that those who arrive are both accounted for and follow the new entrance to access their pitches.

Each team must adhere strictly to allocated time slots.

Everyone who comes in and out is registered, an essential measure in case the need for contact tracing subsequently arises.

All are required to have completed the GAA's health questionnaire.

They'll enter the premises through an old fire door via a walkway marked out with bright orange traffic cones, through a dressing-room which has been cordoned off and past a new 'fever unit' donated by the club's sponsor, which instantly checks the temperature of anyone who approaches it.

Everyone who gets the green light - literally - will then make their way on to the club's pitches.

They'll leave their gear bags outside and use newly-disinfected equipment as they session begins.

Training will be non-contact, with a maximum of 15 players in a designated area of the field.

Then, without delay, they'll make their way back to their cars and go home as soon as the session ends. Never let it be said that the Gael isn't an adaptable creature.

"It's great to be in a position to get back into it," admits Broderick.

"My worry is not Tinryland, it's that you can't account for what others are doing. And that's probably still the issue going forward."

The crushing gravity of the public health situation became much more real for Broderick and the Tinryland community when they were asked to authorise the use of their property for coronavirus testing.

"We got a text from the club to stay away from the clubhouse unless you were asked to be there," recalls Broderick of the recent hiatus.

Approximately 500 people were tested in the club grounds during March and April before it closed.


The centre was dismantled on June 12 by the defence forces before the grounds and clubhouse were disinfected and deep-cleaned.

Now, having done their bit for the wider south Leinster community, Tinryland are taking all prescribed measures to protect their own members, and some more besides.

Albeit still with a degree of risk.

According to the Gaelic Players Association, 17 per cent of inter-county players who responded to a survey are still unsure whether they will return to play this year due to unresolved health fears.

Broderick, an All-Star nominee in 2018, declares himself among the number of undecided.

"I'd have my own reservations," he confirms. "You'd be sceptical. I have a grandad and he's 92 years of age. We have our stuff in place to be able to see him over the past few weeks.

"And the club are doing everything we possibly can to follow the guidelines and that gives you confidence."

"But," Broderick continues, "if you're going to come into contact with people who you can't be sure of, there is still a risk. That hasn't just gone away."

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