THE GAA is beginning its steps towards the return to action for players across Ireland— raising hopes in Scotland that clubs here can begin to look towards their activity resuming too.
The ‘Return to Play’ roadmap was the result of cautious planning as the coronavirus pandemic affected Ireland, but now that restrictions begin to be lifted and normality creeps back into areas of Irish life, the GAA has unveiled its hopes for Gaelic games to begin again.
Linked to the Irish Government’s coronavirus regulation, the roadmap will move through phases which allow clubs and county sides to start to open up.
Initially, the movements will be limited—such as opening walking tracks for those who live within a certain distance—but it is hopes that those decision will soon be followed by more significant progress.
With the reinfection rate continuing to fall there have been repeated calls from prominent figures in the GAA to reopen clubs and allow people—particularly young people—to take part in some form of sporting activity.
However, with a considerable level of organisation required—such as distributing hand sanitising equipment and disinfecting surfaces—it will rely on a close study of the ‘R’ number and the commitment of club officials and volunteers in order to take place safely.
Defending the behaviour of the association through the unprecedented crisis, president John Horan spoke to The Sunday Game.
“We had to examine it and look at it closely,” he said. “And there was a concept in it that people had to gather together in groups of four, but we felt that it couldn’t be marshalled by people in our clubs because our clubs are led by a load of good-quality volunteer people and to put the onus on volunteer people to make the decisions to police and organise training within our facilities, we just felt that would be too much on them.”
Now with a painstakingly constructed roadmap, though, the GAA can begin to feel confident that activities will return as soon as the opportunity presents itself.