Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

16.06 16 Oct 2020


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GAA organisers and supporter groups have insisted it's safe for inter-county games to resume - saying it will offer people a much needed morale boost.

Games will resume this weekend behind closed doors, with matches to be streamed online and broadcast on TV.

Senior football and hurling championships are due to get back underway next weekend.

However, it comes amid growing concerns about nationwide coronavirus rates and the possibility of more restrictions for the country.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said the Championship will be cancelled if the government move to level five, but for now the decisions will be made by the GAA.

The organisation has already suspended all club games - saying post-match celebrations and a lack of social distancing at certain events in particular had been "disappointing and problematic."

On Lunchtime Live today, a number of GAA organisers and supporter groups said it is safe for inter-county games to resume.

Should GAA inter-county games and championships still go ahead?

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

    

Eddie Keher of the Kilkenny GAA Supporters Club said it would be a 'real pity' if the games didn't take place.

He said: "I think the country... needs a big morale boast.

"Some of the scenes after [club games] weren't so great, but I think the senior inter-county championship will be run much stricter. If they're organised in such a way that's safe and we can just watch them on television... I would like to see them go ahead."

Eddie said many measures are in place to keep players safe.

He observed: "The players have certainly been given the player to opt-out if they wish. I know some players have, not in our county.

"Talking to some of the players on different occasions, they're all mad to get back hurling.

"The issue around the aftermath is very hard to control: the players themselves are sensible enough to know if they win a Leinster final or Munster final or whatever, they know they have to protect themselves for the next game."

"The fans will be the hardest to control, and the aftermath of a victory - that is an issue that will have to be dealt with."

'We're buzzing'

Ciaran Flynn - PRO for Meath GAA - said there's a positive attitude in his county about games resuming.

He said: "We're buzzing - it's great to have inter-county football back.

"It's no better opposition for a Meath man to go back and try to beat the Dubs in their own patch."

Ciaran said his own experience is that the vast majority of people are obeying the guidelines as they go about their day-to-day lives.

He said the GAA as an organisation has also worked 'professionally and diligently to allow things resume safely.

He told Andrea: "There have been some unsavoury scenes - we've seen them in different places with house parties and public houses.

"The GAA doesn't condone this behaviour - it never has. It's not a GAA event, or on GAA premises."

Ultimately, he believes the GAA brings 'so much joy to every element of society', and it's important for the matches to go ahead.

Mental well-being

However, Maura from Galway called into the show to offer an alternative perspective about the resumption of games.

She said: "I'm from a GAA background - my husband plays, my cousins play, my kids are involved.

"Everyone is saying it will give us a boost to our mental well-being. I think my mental well-being will be better off if we could bring down the cases of COVID instead of having games.

"GAA have been really responsible... but they cannot control what people do after victories or defeats. You cannot control what fans do."

Main image: File photo. Picture by: RollingNews.ie

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