Rás Tailteann race director Eugene Moriarty has said that he hopes the recent Government guidelines on large gatherings of people will not impact upon the running of the event. Earlier this week it was announced that any gatherings of more than 5,000 people will not be possible until September at the earliest. The Rás was originally due to start on Wednesday June 10th but has been moved to a date yet to be confirmed later this year.
In recent years, the final stage of the race has had very large crowds in Skerries, Co Dublin. However, moving the race’s conclusion from north Co Dublin to Blackrock in Co Louth may impact on the turnout of spectators; if needs be, the race organisers could also take steps to limit crowd size. Such considerations are some time off, though, with a final decision still to be made in relation to if and when the Rás will take place.
“We set our date to review things in June,” Moriarty told The Irish Times this week. “We will just have to bide our time with it. For now, we are staying optimistic about the race taking place.
“If it runs, it would have to be August or September. Because once you get into October, the season is effectively over. So the most likely timeframe would be August or September. But there are a number of other parties who will have a much bigger influence on whether or not the Rás will go ahead. That would be groups like the health service, and the availability of gardaí will also be a factor.
“We are very hopeful, but we are very realistic at the same time that if the powers-that-be say these types of events won’t be possible, that will set the tone for us.”
The Rás Tailteann features overseas teams each year, and Moriarty confirmed that they have been in contact with him. "Even after the last press release saying the race will be postponed, we had a couple of teams reach out to us and send us messages saying once they know they can travel, they will be there. There is certainly appetite for it, and we will do everything we can in the safest way possible to fulfil that. But we will just have to wait and see."
He will be mindful that if the race goes ahead, there may be restrictions on overseas entrants, particularly depending on the Covid-19 situation in their countries at the time. However, for now, Moriarty and the rest of the race organisation team will hope that the event can proceed as normal at some point later this year.