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'I don't think there will be a GAA championship this year until there's a vaccine' – Clare hurling captain Conlon

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John Conlon thinks the championship is under threat in 2020.. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

John Conlon thinks the championship is under threat in 2020.. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

John Conlon thinks the championship is under threat in 2020.. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Clare hurling star John Conlon doesn't expect any championship action this season and he believes that it will not be possible for the GAA to ask amateur players to shut themselves off from their families in order to play games.

Professional sports like soccer and American Football have mooted the possibility of isolation camps to keep players away from those who may be at risk of Covid-19 in an effort to keep the show on the road but the Banner skipper doesn't believe that is feasible within the GAA.

"I don't think there will be a GAA championship this year until there's a vaccine and the safety of everyone and their families can be guaranteed," Conlon told 2fm's Game On programme.

"We have players whose grandparents live with them. My mother has had cancer twice and hasn't left the house the last number of weeks. I hate to think that if I was able to play I wouldn't be able to see them for a number of weeks.

"We're fully amateur at the end of the day. This is not our profession. It's very important that everyone's safety is guaranteed before any championship game takes place, at club level and inter-county.

"Until all those guarantees can be met by the GAA, I don't think any championship games can be played."

Conlon will miss any championship action this year as he recovers from surgery on a cruciate knee ligament injury sustained last month but the Clonlara attacker feels that clarification is needed from the GAA about when games might take place.

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"There's only so long that players can train hard on their own and not have any light at the end of the tunnel. There's a lot of uncertainty there. A little bit of clarification would be no harm from the GAA," the former All-Star forward said.

"At least if the GAA set out that there might be championship in August, management teams can plan towards that and give lads a break maybe. Let them have the bit of downtime that they might need instead of training away and not knowing what's going to happen."

The thoughts of playing behind closed doors is also a concept that is alien to the 30-year-old and he admits that there will be a "very weird" atmosphere if games do eventually go ahead without spectators.

"I wouldn't be a massive fan of it. We've all played challenge matches where there's no-one inside in Cusack Park or Thurles and to hear the ball being pucked over and back, it just doesn't add to the same intensity and drive.

"If there is a championship, people are probably going to say it's a tainted championship because it will be a different format I'm sure.

"There are going to be a lot of question marks over everything. Would players be up to the same levels of fitness? It's going to be a very weird time going forward."

Online Editors