Davy Byrne: 'Something is better than nothing'
By John Harrington
Like every other player, Dublin and Naomh Olaf footballer, Davy Byrne, would prefer to be playing in front of bigger crowds than is currently permissible.
The Government announced this week that the maximum attendance at all out-door events would remain capped at 200, which was particularly frustrating news for GAA supporters keen to see their clubs back in action.
It remains to be seen how long that limit remains in place, but, after experiencing the frustration of lockdown, Byrne believes that something is better than nothing, even if that means inter-county matches also having to place in front of paltry attendances.
“It's been great to be back playing club games and getting back out there. It feels like a bit of normality setting in. Would you rather there were more crowds in Croke Park for an inter-county game?
“Of course. But I think something is better than nothing. I'm just happy to play a game at this stage, whatever the case may be.
“I think every player would surely say they'd rather play than not play at all. But, I suppose, health and safety has to be the most important thing here. There's no place for taking unnecessary risks.”
Byrne didn’t think twice about returning to the playing fields when it was permissible again, but understands why some would prefer not to put themselves at risk of contracting Covid-19, even if that risk is minimal.
“Yeah, I suppose you have to respect everyone's individual decision as a player,” he says. “If a player decides they don't want to come back, then that's their right.
“From my own perspective, that's a risk I'd be willing to take. But I suppose you do put yourself a little bit at risk when playing these games.
“It'll be taking the attitude of following whatever guidance is out there. If the GAA are saying it's safe to come back and play, then we'll play.”
Byrne and his Naomh Olaf team-mates suffered a heavy 2-24 to 1-6 defeat to Cuala in Round 2 of the Dublin Senior 2 Football Championship on Wednesday night.
Cuala, spearheaded by Con O’Callaghan, are a rising force, and Byrne believes they’ll be contenders for honours this year.
“It was a tough one,” he says. “To be fair, Cuala are a great outfit. They were a good bit better than us on the day. They’re a very good team and I’d probably be expecting them to go on and do well this year. Fair play to them, they were very good.
“Con played a full game. Niall O’Callaghan, Con’s younger brother, was playing as well. I think other than Conor Mulally they had a full outfit. It’s always a bit of fun when you’re playing against your team-mates that you know well.
“I was picking up Con for probably most of the game, which is kind of what you want, a great challenge, a top forward, the type of player you want to be marking in club championship.”