Time for GAA to cancel championships?

 

Sir, – The GAA needs to show some proactive national leadership by calling off the intercounty championships for this year and handing back the €19 million of Government funds committed to the venture.

The slew of intercounty footballers travelling across the country this weekend, some into and out of Level 4 counties, as the highest infection figures to date have just been announced, does nothing to inspire the upholding of either the letter or the spirit of Covid recommendations and advice in the communities that are home to these players.

Projected figures, even for the end of this month, and current Nphet recommendations, carry the serious threat that the championships will have to be abandoned in any case, generating a greater negative effect on people than if the decision is taken before the process starts.

The travails of Stephen Kenny’s Ireland soccer team last weekend and the current difficulties of at least one League of Ireland club this weekend clearly demonstrate the difficulties, despite all best efforts, of keeping teams Covid-free.

It is inevitable that some GAA teams will experience similar difficulties, with the knock-on effect of handicapping their on-field endeavours and thus devaluing the overall competition.

Coming from a county that is gifted with the expectation of being capable of winning the Liam MacCarthy Cup any year, it is difficult to exhort the calling off of this year’s championship but there is a greater need for pre-emptive national leadership and a meaningful “bite the bullet” example now than has existed at any time during this pandemic. A clutch of All-Ireland medals, however dearly treasured, does not, even remotely, compare with the availability of one ICU bed when needed. – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL GANNON,

Kilkenny.