Glanworth chief fears it will take a Covid-19 death to end GAA season

Glanworth chief fears it will take a Covid-19 death to end GAA season

Glanworth chairman Liam Brennan fears it will take a Covid-19 death arising from GAA activity for the shutters to be pulled down on the 2020 season.

The Cork club suspended all GAA activity on Sunday after a club member tested positive for coronavirus.

The player in question travelled from Dublin on Saturday morning, along with a teammate, for a challenge game on Saturday evening. After taking his temperature when he reached Cork, by which point he was feeling somewhat poorly, the player decided not to attend the challenge game and instead returned to Dublin where he was tested that night. His positive result was delivered the following day.

The individual who travelled with him from Dublin did not attend Saturday’s challenge game either, meaning no player or management team member present at the game is at risk of contracting the virus through close or casual contact with the Covid-19 positive Glanworth player.

Club chairman Brennan praised the player for being so responsible in his actions when beginning to show symptoms. He expects clearance to arrive in the coming days for the club to reopen.

Glanworth officials were meeting last night via Microsoft Teams to discuss whether the club should consider withdrawing from the upcoming Cork county championship, which gets underway in less than a fortnight.

Brennan’s fear is it will take the loss of life arising from GAA related activity before the association calls a permanent halt to the already truncated 2020 season.

“Personally, I think it is going to take - touch wood it won't happen - a death from GAA related activity for the GAA to act on it. I don't want us to be the guinea pigs, to be the cause of a local death,” said Brennan.

"We will seriously have to consider, for the health of the community, should we look at entering for the coming season. Those of us at the top table, we are only passing through to help the club survive for the next generation. 

"Personally, I don't want to be chairperson and to be at the cause of a GAA related death in the community which we can avoid by maybe possibly not looking at playing for the coming season. That’ll be decided by the club.”

Brennan added: “Our phones have been inundated the last two days. People are worried. They panicked when they hear, 'oh, it is in Glanworth'. But the player in question had travelled from Dublin. Even though we are following every protocol there is to follow, this is a wake-up call.”

He believes there is too much pressure being put on players.

“When the players are going out with some bit of fear in their minds, it’s not enjoyment. It’s not sport. Mental health has been a big thing the last couple of years and so you don't want to be adding to that by putting pressure on lads to turn up if they don't feel they want to be there. The GAA will always be there next year.”

Meanwhile, the chairperson of a West Cork GAA club forced to suspend activity last week over coronavirus fears says the “very stressful” couple of days the club endured has strengthened the belief there will be no championship this summer.

Argideen Rangers was one of three West Cork clubs who temporarily paused GAA activity last week after players from the club came into contact with an individual who tested positive for Covid-19. The club announced on Sunday that each member tested had returned a negative result. They, along with Ballinascarthy and St Oliver Plunkett’s, have since returned to the field.

But Angela O’Donovan, chairperson of the Argideen Rangers club in Timoleague, has said the events of last week have increased doubt that county championships will be played through to their conclusion in the months ahead.

“A lot of people are finding it very hard to see the whole thing materialising. People I have spoken to over the last couple of days, that is the question they have all asked: can you see championship going ahead? The rug can be pulled out from under you in the space of hours, as was the case for us,” O’Donovan remarked.

Ahead of county championships throwing-in this weekend, Croke Park will hold a conference call with county board officers tomorrow where further clarification will be provided as to the difference between close and casual contact.

One question officers will want an answer to is whether a county championship should be paused in the event of a club having to temporarily suspend activity because of a coronavirus scare. Clarity has yet to be provided as to whether games involving such a club are to be postponed or will a club be made to line out without the player(s) who is either self-isolating or awaiting a test result.

The Argideen Rangers chairperson insisted that anything other than postponement would be unfair on clubs.

O’Donovan said her sole issue with the events of last week was the length of time it took for the club members identified through contact tracing to be tested and subsequently receive a result.

“The lads got notification on Wednesday and it was Sunday before we got the final test results back. I understand there is a ferocious backlog, but there were four full days of people not knowing what their situation was. We have had a very stressful few days. But thankfully, it has all proven to be very positive."

Elsewhere, the Ballinahinch club in Tipperary has resumed GAA activity following a juvenile club member returning a negative test result for Covid-19. The club shut down GAA activity last Friday as a precautionary measure while the juvenile club member awaited a Covid-19 test.


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