Full 36-player panels to be allowed at intercounty matches under Level 3
Governmens confirms full panels will be able to attend men’s and women’s games
Limerick manager John Kiely had spoken out about the limit on panel numbers at intercounty matches. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
The Government has confirmed that the full 36-player panel can attend senior intercounty championship matches once the country moves to Level 3 restrictions from Tuesday December 1st.
It will come in time for both next month’s All-Ireland finals, and also this weekend’s two football semi-finals; it will also apply to the remaining women’s football and camogie fixtures from this weekend.
According to Jack Chambers, Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht, “full panels will be permitted to attend on match days when Ireland moves to Level 3 from tomorrow.”
Several county managers had pleaded with the Government to ease the 26-player match day panel limit which has so far been enforced throughout the championship, James Horan calling for urgent easing of it ahead of Mayo’s All-Ireland football semi-final against Tipperary this Sunday.
The situation had also been described as “unacceptable” by Limerick hurling manager John Kiely, given the GAA’s outright limit of 40 people from each county being permitted to attend each game.
“I know John Kiely raised it, and we’ve been saying it for quite a while, but not allowing the panel to go to games is outrageous, to be honest,” said Horan. “I think the players to a certain extent are being taken for granted, I genuinely do, in a lot of things. We have guys who have given a decade, some of them more, and it may be their second or last time going to Croke Park, or whatever.”
According to the GAA, any easing of that 26-player match day panel limit had been entirely dependent on the Government’s review of current Level 5 restrictions, that now come into effect from December 1st; it will also mean that some additional backroom members will also be admitted.
Kiely also spoke of being “offended” by that 26-player match day panel limit in the aftermath of Limerick’s Munster hurling final win over Waterford earlier this month, which sealed back-to-back provincial titles the first time in 39 years: the Munster Cup, he insisted, would only be presented when all current 36-panel members could be in attendance, and he spoke out on the matter again on Sunday after Limerick booked their place in the final showdown agianst Waterford.