Kerry chiefs curb player access in bid to tackle swine flu risk

KERRY GAA chiefs are to take “precautions” against the threat of swine flu ahead of their All-Ireland SFC final with Cork on September 20.

Hundreds of children will attend the Kingdom’s traditional opening training session at Fitzgerald Stadium on Saturday. However, the autographing-hunting youngsters will not enjoy the same access to their county heroes which they enjoyed in previous years because of the pandemic.

Instead, each child will receive a pre-packaged production which will include pen pictures of the squad, autographed by each panel member.

“It is simply a precaution so close to the final,” county chairman Jerome Conway confirmed last night. “As always the session will be open to the public, and especially to the kids.

“However, the one major difference this year is that there wouldn’t be any interaction with the players.

“Due to the swine flu fears, we felt it was necessary to take precautions with a week to go to the final against Cork.

“So instead of the kids going out onto the field after the game, each child will receive the packaged production as they enter the ground. They can then stay and watch the session from the stands.”

Conway revealed there was another reason for the change of policy.

“Another thing we found in the past was that with hundreds of children looking to meet the players, some went home disappointed.

“Some kids would get every player while some of the quieter children wouldn’t be as confident to approach the lads.

“We produced a similar booklet for the journalists last year, and someone remarked that it would be nice to do something similar for the kids. It took off from there. This way every child will get the same number of autographs and hopefully will be going home happy on Saturday.”

The session is set to begin at 11.30am.

Meanwhile he reported that the demand for tickets is incredible ahead of the glamour clash against Conor Counihan’s side.

Conway revealed: “We are getting 8,000 stand tickets and 5,000 Hill 16 tickets. Unfortunately demand is far above the supply.”


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