| 12.5°C Dublin

October now looks the earliest start time for All-Irelands

Medical doubts remain over resumption of GAA programme due to concerns around contact

Close

'Counties have already been told to prepare for club action first, a point reinforced by GAA president John Horan last week.' Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

'Counties have already been told to prepare for club action first, a point reinforced by GAA president John Horan last week.' Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

'Counties have already been told to prepare for club action first, a point reinforced by GAA president John Horan last week.' Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

The GAA is likely to maintain its cautious approach on a possible return to play when it considers the detail in the Government's phased plans to ease Covid-19 emergency restrictions.

The Government's plan allows for pitches to open for up to four people to exercise on May 18, followed by a return to training, where social distancing is applied, for further smaller groups three weeks later.

A return to games is forecast on July 20, if public health conditions allow. An easing on the closure of GAA clubs and pitches looks likely to follow in line with the Government plan.

However, the GAA's Management Committee will make determinations about a possible return based on medical advice available to them. Management has the powers, courtesy of last month's Special Congress, to make decisions on a championship structure for a three-month period in the current emergency. Counties have already been told to prepare for club action first, a point reinforced by GAA president John Horan last week.

For all the latest sports news, analysis and updates direct to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter.

Horan has stressed, however, the need for player safety in any evaluation and even if clearance remains in place for a July 20 restart, medical winds appear to be blowing against contact sport in light of the views expressed by one of the members of National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) over the weekend, stressing the need for a vaccine or treatment to be in place before it could be restart safely.

Otherwise, Dr Cillian De Gascun said NPHET couldn't recommend contact sport resumption, even though it is set out on the Government's roadmap.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar did open the possibility of inter-county championships being held behind closed doors, mentioning the months of August and September as a time-frame, but any championship is likely to start much later in the year, in October at the earliest if at all, with clubs getting the first green light.

One member of the GAA's Management Committee who has expressed strong reservations about any return to play for GAA players in 2020 is Connacht GAA president Gerry McGovern who reiterated his belief that the risks on the field are too great.

McGovern has said his view hasn't changed since Friday's plan was released by the Government and he will be expressing that view to fellow Management Committee members when the opportunity arrives.

McGovern, who said he got positive feedback to his initial comments, has asked why club players should be put out first when they run the risk of contracting or spreading the virus because of potential contact.

GAA Newsletter

Exclusives from under the skin of the GAA, from Ireland’s largest and best GAA team; Brolly, Mullane, Hogan and Ó Sé, to name but a few.

This field is required

"We are a community-based organisation. While there will be a financial hit we have to ensure that safety comes first," he said.


Most Watched





Privacy