GAA following coronavirus protocols ahead of big weekend of League action

The GAA is maintaining a watching brief when it comes to this weekend’s round of intercounty games, with players and supporters alike being encouraged to follow HSE guidelines to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

GAA following coronavirus protocols ahead of big weekend of League action

The GAA is maintaining a watching brief when it comes to this weekend’s round of intercounty games, with players and supporters alike being encouraged to follow HSE guidelines to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

This weekend sees a full round of NFL games down for decision as well as quarter-finals and finals across all divisions of the NHL.

Dick Clerkin, chair of the GAA's Medical, Scientific and Welfare Committee, says the Association is stressing the importance of those HSE guidelines, adding that match postponements are outside the brief of his committee.

“Have there been discussions about games going ahead? I think every organisation is probably looking at its fixture schedule and taking advice on what the appropriate course of action might be.

“The committee I’m involved with, we’re focusing on player-related issues when it comes to medical matters, while the current risk seems to relate to whether games go ahead and if so, what does that mean for supporters.

“That seems to be the high level of risk, but I have to point out that that’s outside the brief of our committee.”

Clerkin pointed out that “common-sense directions” were helpful to all, not just players: “Our committee met on Monday and we’ll be continuing to encourage people to follow the HSE’s guidelines to counter the spread of the virus.

“There may be decisions that have to be made about games, but even so teams are training and preparing as we speak, and there are things they can do.

“Those are simple things as already outlined in those HSE guidelines - common-sense directions about not sharing water bottles and so on. The other night I was training with the club, for instance, and we were saying we’d have to bring our own water bottles to the sessions in future.

All of these are relatively simple actions that everyone can do, practical tips, but it requires everyone doing them.

PJ Howlin of the Wexford County Board says their usual pre-game planning meeting lasted longer than usual this week - Wexford host Galway this Saturday in the NHL 1A quarter-final.

“We’re following the protocols as best we can - no hand-shaking, using hand sanitisers, using common sense to make sure there’s as little contact between people as possible.

“Obviously it’s different for the players in the game, but basically we’re abiding by the rules which have been recommended for everyone. We have Galway coming on Saturday to Wexford, and there was a full meeting - groundsmen and other staff - on Tuesday morning to discuss the game.

“That went on a little longer than normal, it was focused on the things that can be done to help the situation, making sure the water is hot in the toilets and so on. As I say the best way to control it - according to what we’ve been told so far - is to use common sense precautions, and that’s what we’ll be doing.

“We’re aware that there’s a crowd of people coming from one end of the country to the other, Galway to Wexford, but as things stand the game is going ahead and we’re preparing accordingly.”

Howlin was speaking in the wake of news from Simonstown Gaels in Meath that one of its adult players tested positive for the virus.

On its website this morning, the Navan club stated: “Simonstown Gaels GFC wish to inform all concerned that on the 10th March a member of the club tested positive for Covid 19.

“This member is an adult player who recently went on holiday in Italy. We wish the club member a full and speedy recovery. The player was one of two players from the club on the trip abroad. In advance of their return these players were requested by team management to undertake and readily agreed to a period of two-weeks of self-isolation.

“The second player is still in isolation and currently showing no signs of symptoms. Neither player has visited the club since their return.

“The club informed the HSE and the County board of this development and is seeking advice and guidance from the HSE as we believe that our duty of care to our members and community in general is of paramount importance.

“We take this opportunity to ask that everyone respect the privacy of the players in question and their families and also ask that members acquire their information from reliable and verified sources.

“The club will provide details when further details become available.”

Match activity is not the only area being affected by the virus. Club Clare announced on Wednesday that a major fundraiser celebrating the county’s All-Ireland win 25 years ago has now been postponed - the provisional new date is May 29th in Treacy’s West County Hotel, with further details to be announced “closer to the time upon further monitoring of the current situation”.

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