18 Aug 2022

Opinion: Crazy to have GAA players watch their team play on TV - Jerome O'Connell

Opinion: Crazy to have GAA players watch their team play on TV - Jerome O'Connell

Limerick's Dan Morrissey and Tipperary's John McGrath in front of the empty stands of Pairc Ui Chaoimh

TEN members of the Limerick senior hurling panel watched last Sunday’s Munster senior hurling championship tie at home.

It’s a crazy.

You see, there isn’t enough tickets to allow them into the match venue.

Limerick get 40 tickets and no more.

From that, 26 players are players, 12 are management and the Limerick GAA County and Secretary.

So that means 10 members of the Limerick senior hurling panel watch the game at home.

And, close to another 10 members of the extended Limerick management team – including, kitman, liaison officer, a second physio, team masseur and the stats team.

Covid-19 dictates much in the world at present and I haven’t taken issue with anything sport related; from behind-closed-door games to competition postponements.

But this is crazy. And, yes I accept that all involved are privileged that the games are going ahead at all given the current Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions. But they are going ahead so why put a maximum of 40 tickets per county - when another 25 tickets each would cover all.

I speak about Limerick but it’s the same for all counties in the senior hurling and football championship at present.

I’ve been in Semple Stadium, Pairc Ui Chaoimh and Fraher Field for championship fare the last two weekends and they are empty.

What would be the difference with another 50 people at the very most – between the two teams.

Limerick hurlers and footballers travel to all games and training at present in individual cars and all were wearing masks entered the ground and when not on the field of play.

Surely the 10 extra players on the Limerick panel could be assigned an area in the stand with social distancing in place.

They train together all week and then can’t even attend the game. 

Next up for the Limerick hurlers is a Munster final against Waterford.

While the Limerick hurlers are riding the crest of a wave in recent seasons, a Munster final should never be taken for granted. This could be the one chance that some members of the panel will get to be involved in such an occasion, albeit a very different one in 2020.

It appears this is a GAA decision and not government or NPHET guidelines.

Surely after witnessing the smooth running of matchdays across the last three weekend’s of action, the number of tickets per county could be extended to maybe 60 to allow all those in the set-up to attend, if only at the back of the stand.

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