GAA President, John Horan.
GAA President, John Horan. 

John Horan urges GAA members to remain positive

By John Harrington

GAA President, John Horan, has urged the Association's members not to become too despondent after the Government today announced it will once again delay moving to Phase 4 of the roadmap on reopening. 

A rise in the Covid-19 reproductive rate has meant that the maximum number of people allowed to attend outdoor events such as GAA matches will remain capped at 200, despite the Association advocating for greater numbers being allowed to attend matches in our bigger stadia.

"We don't want our members becoming too despondent or disheartened," Horan told "What's important is that we have the games back and we keep them back and we continue to be vigilant and show leadership. 

"This isn't going as fast as we want but we're still moving in the right direction. 

"We made a strong case to both the Government and NPHET around the use of our bigger stadia for crowds of up to 400 excluding the players. 

"But, obviously, with the numbers turning in the last few days they felt they couldn't acede to our request and we have to respect that decision."

Covid 19 signage at Listry GAA club in Listry, Kerry.
Covid 19 signage at Listry GAA club in Listry, Kerry.

GAA clubs have shown invaluable leadership since the Covid-19 pandemic hit Ireland, and Horan believes the good example being set is one of the main reasons we can be optimistic for the future.

"We're in our sixth week back with activity and this has shown our procedures and education have worked well," he says.

"The caution within the GAA community has highlighted outbreaks and led to areas taking precautions. When it hits a club everyone gets into high alert and that helps to stop the spread in that community. 

"Nearly four million health questionnaires that have been filled out by people going to training and matches and it's creating an awareness in society and particularly in the GAA community that the virus is still out there. 

"I'd like to complement the clubs and our volunteer leadership for all they've done and encourage people that if they suspect they have a case to come forward and be tested. 

"It's important we treat people with respect and support if they are diagnosed with Covid-19. There should be no stigma whatsoever attached to this illness. 

"We all have to keep doing the right things and hopefully things will turn for us in three weeks time and we'll then be able to get more people to attend games. 

"But the most important thing is that we don't lose what we've gotten back so far. The playing of games and people being able to go training."