John Horan: if a county goes down to Covid-19 they’ll have to step aside
GAA president says inter-county championships won’t be held up by any lockdowns
GAA president John Horan is hopeful the intercounty championships will go ahead later this year. File photograph: Inpho
GAA president John Horan has confirmed that the association supports the running of inter-county championships this year but if they are to take place, they won’t be held up to accommodate counties who find themselves in any coronavirus lockdown.
Until now the association had been reluctant to spell this out, believing it excessively negative to dwell on such an unpleasant reality but on RTÉ Radio 1’s This Week programme, Horan acknowledged the situation.
“I think everybody getting involved in this will actually take on board and we will have protocols in place that if a county goes down, because of the narrow timeframe in which we are running the competition, they will just have to step aside.”
He cited the last time this had happened - the 1941 hurling championship during the foot-and-mouth outbreak that year - as precedent.
“There is an acceptance. If you go back to the 40s, Tipperary and Kilkenny were removed from the All-Ireland championships for a very good reason - the foot and mouth problem - and people accepted that. It is going to be an unusual championship, and it will always be marked down if we do have winners that it was a championship in an unusual year.
“We will have to engage the GPA (Gaelic Players Association) as well in the whole area of the comfort of our inter-county players of actually getting involved in the championship.”
He reiterated the view from last week’s meeting of county chairs that the championships should go ahead.
“There are complexities but we are of the view that we should drive on and do it. The nation will need live sport on the television at the weekends when we go through the long evenings in the winter. If we as a national organisation can deliver that moral lift to the country, we won’t be found wanting.”