Offaly GAA adopt 'wait and see' policy amid hope club activity will resume
Offaly GAA are adopting a wait and see policy as the country holds its breath ahead of the next Government announcement on coronavirus restrictions.
GAA training and games have been abandoned since the Government imposed a near lockdown to try and halt the spread of the coronavirus. While the closure of pubs, hotels, restaurants and many shops along with sports events being shut down, over 70s being cocooned and restrictions on the travel and movement of people appear to have kept the virus at bay to some extent, there are doubts and anxiety about when normality will resume.
The current lockdown restrictions are being reviewed on May 5. While there are hopes that some will be lifted and a way or timescale towards the resumption of some normal activity will be signposted, it is all shrouded in great uncertainty.
The GAA has been severely affected like all sports. The National Football and Hurling Leagues were not completed when the restrictions were put in place and both county and clubs are looking at a greatly reduced programme – if they get up and running at all.
In a communication circulated to clubs recently by Offaly GAA chairman Michael Duignan and Coiste na nOg chairperson Carina Carroll, they stated that they remain hopeful that some GAA activity will take place this year.
Already Michael Duignan has stated that he believes knockout competitions will be the only viable option if activity will remain and similarly, the inter-county season will have to be revamped if it is to take place in any form this year.
Clubs were told in the recent statement that the County Board won’t be putting forward any proposals or calling a meeting until after the next Government announcements are made on May 5 - if gatherings of people are still restricted, they may have to decide on any proposals by video link or a ballot on the various options.
Mr Duignan and Mrs Haverty stated that they would be waiting until after May 5 when they have a clearer picture before making any comment – but they stated that once they have that picture, they will be asking the Competitions Control Committee to make recommendations and then calling a County Board meeting. They also stated that club activity will take priority if there is a resumption.
The letter circulated to clubs stated: “I just wanted to drop you a note to say hello and give you a brief update.
“First of all I hope you and your families are keeping well and coping reasonably well during this tough time for us all. I would also like to offer my condolences to members who have lost loved ones over the past few weeks.
“At the moment our clubs and grounds remain closed across the County. This is an unfortunate position but the reasons for making this decision haven’t changed and I would encourage you all to continue to keep vigilant and ensure that no activity is taking place.
“The GAA are continuing to liaise with authorities and like ourselves remain hopeful that some activity might take place this year. Club activity will take priority if there is a resumption. We obviously may need to review our Championship structures and in this regard the CCC have considered some possible scenarios. We have decided against progressing any possible proposals until we have more clarity on how big a window we might have. Intercounty fixtures at provincial and national level at all grades may also have to be considered in conjunction with club activity so it is not possible to firm up any proposals at the moment.
“We, therefore, propose to wait until after May 5th to make any further comment. When we have a clearer picture I will ask the CCC to meet and make suitable recommendations before calling a County Committee meeting to review.
“Coaching and games are currently working on a series of workshops which they hope to deliver over the coming weeks through Webinars. I would encourage clubs to promote these to your players/coaches. The team led by Liam O Reilly are working full time and are available to all clubs. Please ask for their services and use this time to promote learning within your club.
“I also want to thank all clubs for the fantastic support you are giving supporting the elderly and most vulnerable in your communities during this pandemic. The GAA family have led the volunteer effort across the country but I’m certain nobody has bettered the all-inclusive, organised and coordinated response we have seen across the Faithful County. You should all be very proud of what you and your members have done.
“That’s all I have for now and I will be in touch in a couple of weeks again.”