GAA president John Horan and director general Tom Ryan have expressed pride in the way the GAA community has been “a light and a standard” in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
In an open letter to the GAA membership published on GAA.ie, the pair wrote: “Like all sport, Gaelic Games have gone into hibernation. But it is a source of enormous pride to us that what has not disappeared or become dormant has been the spirit and the passion for community that is the lifeforce of the GAA in every corner of this island.
“Clubs big and small and across towns and rural parishes are doing what the GAA has been proud to do for 136 years — and that’s be a light and a standard for the people who they represent.
“We have always said that the GAA ultimately, is all about people — people working together for a goal. We have a common goal now like never before. Our goal is to help the island of Ireland push back against the spread of this virus and give the people of Ireland the best chance possible of limiting its impact and being able to hopefully, some day in the not too distant future, come out the other side.
“This community spirit is also prominent among our hundreds of GAA clubs overseas who are such a vital support network for our Diaspora. To the people posting skills drills for stuck at home players, keep up the good work.
“To all of those who have been able to offer help to the vulnerable in their communities, we extend our sincerest míle buíochas and urge you to stay safe while doing so and follow all the advice and guidelines from the health and statutory authorities.”
The letter outlines the contribution the GAA has made in terms of making the likes of Croke Park and Páirc Uí Chaoimh available to the HSE.
And while accepting that “sport is not a priority at a time of a national emergency”, it expressed the determination of the Association to plan for the moment the current sporting lockdown is lifted.
“But when the time comes again for the boots to be laced, hurleys to be gripped, nets to be hung, and the pitches to be marked and when the time comes for men and women, and boys and girls to run out into the air and play the games they love, sport will be more important than ever before.
“We are planning for that day — whenever that day may be. In the meantime, we can help make that day come quicker if we do what we are being asked to do by the people who know what they are talking about.
“Stop, look and listen to all of the advice that is there on how we beat this common foe. Washing our hands, personal distancing and, if needs be, self-isolation are the weapons that we have. Keep safe, keep thinking of others, keep fit and healthy in body and mind.
“As that great son of Derry, Seamus Heaney wrote:
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