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Anger and confusion as fans prevented from attending matches

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LOCKED OUT: Michael Cronin (Chairman of Spa GAA) and Fergal Moynihan (Chairman of Legion GAA) are furious over the latest Government proposals for sport. Photo: Michelle Crean

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By Sean Moriarty

 

Local GAA clubs have reacted with shock and disappointment following the Government’s decision to ban spectators from matches until at least September 13.

 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced a range of new measures on Tuesday in an effort to contain the second spread of COVID-19.

One of the biggest restrictions is the complete banning of spectators from all sporting events. This came as a huge blow to local GAA clubs. The 2020 Garvey’s Senior Football Championship gets underway this weekend.

“The general view is that Government took the soft option having failed to agree on more unpopular decisions,” Spa GAA Club Chairman Michael Cronin said. “People are fairly fed up both with the Government and even the GAA itself as people paid up full membership and the club paid full insurance, but the club was closed for four months and people are still unable to see games.”

It was hoped that the number of attendees at games would increase from the previously allowed 200 people to 500 - but Tuesday’s decision went the opposite way.

“We are very disappointed with the decision. Totally unexpected. We were expecting the exact opposite. People were looking forward to seeing County Championship and quarter finals of the club championships," Michael added.

Legion Chairman Fergal Moynihan told the Killarney Advertiser that “it is a big blow for people".

“For club games it is a family thing, parents, partners, children want to go and support their players and it is the main part for them to be physically there. It was very difficult on club secretaries who had to turn people away and it was hoped that the increase to 500 would take the pressure off – it is gone the other way.”

GAA clubs in Killarney say this is unfair after they followed all guidelines in place since June 29. These included the extra work load of ticket issuing and the management of same. They are also baffled by the decision as there is no evidence that fans who attended matches since June 29 are contributing to the virus spread.

“Club fixtures are going to be very important this year,” Fergal added. “It is still emerging what is going to happen. The chances of inter-county games seem slim right now and the club championship will become even more important."

Clubs have warned too that they face financial difficulties in the future. The lack of spectators attending matches is having a negative impact on club’s balance sheets, Lotto income is reduced too due to pub closures but expenditure is increased due to new COVID-19 safety protocols.

“There won’t be a single club in the county that will be impacted by this,” added Fergal. “Even the County Board will be impacted.”

Policing the new rules will be difficult too.

“Clubs are working hard to keep all players training and involved in games. If parents alone can attend games the impact of this decision may not be as severe,” added Michael. “We can’t see any club turning people away from a gate at a club game at any level. The clubs will be expecting those same people to support their Lotto and other events.”

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Detox Wrap will leave you feeling energised

It may be the last few weeks of the holidays but, it is no better time treat yourself to a body detox wrap. This wrap is suitable for males and […]

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It may be the last few weeks of the holidays but, it is no better time treat yourself to a body detox wrap.

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Puck Goat removed from platform in searing heat

Organisers of Puck Fair have taken King Puck down from his platform to protect the wild mountain goat from the heat. Today mark’s day two of the three-day fair in […]

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Organisers of Puck Fair have taken King Puck down from his platform to protect the wild mountain goat from the heat.

Today mark’s day two of the three-day fair in Killorglin town. As part of the fair’s tradition a wild mountain goat presides over the town from his tall platform over the course of the three days.

Organisers employ a dedicated vet to look after the goat and a team of experienced goat handlers are also on duty for the duration of the festival.

There is also a temperature monitoring device on the platform.

As temperatures hit 29 degrees today (Thursday), the vet and handlers decided it was safer for the goat to be removed from the platform for the rest of the day.

“He is currently resting in the shade,” spokesperson Marcella O’Connor told the Killarney Advertiser. “The handlers were monitoring him in case it got too hot, the decision was made to take him down, and the vet says he is happy.”

A decision will be made tomorrow (Friday) on the goat’s return to the platform for the final day of the fair.

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