Cork senior camogie manager Paudie Murray has slammed the GAA’s decision to close pitches until July 20.
He also reports the extension in the cessation of action has had a profound negative effect on his players.
Describing the pitch closures as an “own goal”, Murray is fearful GAA clubs will have to be more vigilant preventing individuals from illegally entering their premises than supervising pods of four people as is set out in the Government’s roadmap for reopening society and business. He also suggests some club members may question their subscriptions if they continue to be locked out.
“I read what Liam Sheedy said and I would agree with an awful lot of it. I am puzzled by the decision of the GAA in relation to closing grounds. I’m not saying that we should be going playing but if you were to go to any park in Cork city and I was in one over last weekend they are black with people that are playing GAA or training. You have groups training and we have grounds locked up.
“The other fear I have with grounds locked up and we all see it is young fellas climbing over walls and spiked fences getting into these grounds and you’d fear for them. I can’t see why from next week onwards groups of four can’t go into pitches in a supervised environment, better than any park.
“It’s disappointing that the president of the GAA has put clubs under pressure. I think they will come under pressure next week and the week after trying to keep people off their pitches. Herding club players out into parks I don’t think is right. I’m certainly not going down the route of saying things should go back to normal - things will never go back to normal - but I think some common sense has to be looked at there as well.
“I think it could lead to problems with clubs and members looking for their membership back later in the year. If you have a family there who are spending €250-€300 in club membership and getting nothing for it. It’s fine for myself and diehards but for families who are spending money and not getting anything out of it, it could raise its head later in the year. I think it’s an own goal.”
St Finbarr’s man Murray speaks of having to live with the virus - “the bottom line here is that people are delusional if they think a vaccine is around the corner.” He also mentions that work done by Cork team performance analyst Niall Collins reveals a camogie player is in contact for less than two minutes per game. “There’s an awful lot there than just saying ‘it’s a contact sport’.”
Murray spoke about the challenges the lockdown is presenting to his panel. “You don’t get to play inter-county if you’re not driven and then all of a sudden on March 11 it comes to a stop. Well, that has to have an effect.
“What the GAA said last weekend has really upset people. We would have got a lot of calls over the last number of days from players really worried and down about what was happening. I don’t think we’re going to see how bad that’s going to be until later on when there are the long summer evenings and they’re sitting at home and not even allowed to go down to the local GAA pitch for a puckaround.
“I get stopped in the street here every day of the week from people that are yearning to watch matches. A number of people have said ‘look, even if there was a game behind closed doors and we knew there was a match coming Saturday evening it would give us something to talk about and look forward to.’ We’re only in May. If nothing is happening by August I think there are going to be big problems coming down the tracks.”