Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

16.25 19 Oct 2020


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Louth senior football captain Bevan Duffy has expressed concerns over players taking part in matches without any prior testing for Covid-19.

Inter-county action returned over the weekend with the resumption of the Allianz National Leagues and the Wee County suffered relegation to Division Four after they lost to Cork who earned promotion to Division Two thanks to the 5-19 to 0-16 victory at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Speaking after the defeat Duffy admitted to being worried about the welfare of the players who were involved in the action.

"I don't understand, with the case numbers going up, the way things are all around the country, how GAA inter-county footballers are all of a sudden immune to this," he told LMFM.

"We've teachers in that dressing room. We've lads living at home, a lot of lads living at home with their elderly parents. It doesn't really make that much sense.

"A lot of former players seem to be driving it, but they're lads who are writing articles and have their TV gigs.

"The protocols need to be better, without a doubt. There hasn't been any testing at all, which I can't get my head around at all.

"Surely before the start of the National League campaign, every inter-county squad should have been tested? Simple as.

"That would take a lot of pressure off and put your mind at ease a bit, but you don't know.

"What if someone tests positive on either of these squads today, next Tuesday or something? And there are lads after playing a match here in Páirc Uí Chaoimh and then gone back to their homes and back all over Cork and all over Louth."

"The lack of testing, the zero testing, I just can't understand it."

Last Friday, the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) called for stricter protocols including stronger testing protocols while they have also suggested that the "safest venues" be used.

Duffy praised the GPA for being "very proactive" in relation to the issues around Covid-19 throughout the summer and he is hoping that their calls for stricter protocols are listened to.

"Every time I've said it to someone they wouldn't believe me. They were [saying], 'You can't be serious'. I don't understand it one bit," he added.

"People are saying it's not coming from GAA teams but if you're not being tested, you're not going to get any positive tests.

"It can't be a case of if you get symptoms you get tested. There's needs to be either the whole squad tested or random testing every week. Something needs to be done.

"It's not right to put this sort of burden on amateur lads. We're not professional rugby players or professional soccer players who can go into these bubbles if needs be or are getting paid to do this.

"We're amateurs, we all have day-to-day jobs. We spend Monday to Friday mingling with everyone in shops, just like anyone else."


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