GAA President John Horan. INPHO/JAMES CROMBIE
By P.J. Cunningham
While the GAA is adamant that games and training activity are still months away – at best, the Association is studying the possibility of easing access to club ground for non-playing reasons.
This possibility has been raised at the GAA’s Covid-19 advisory group to allow members to exercise in safety – currently many families are forced to walk on county and city roads which carries a serious threat of accidents.
President John Horan admitted last week that Croke Park is keenly aware of the importance of wellbeing among followers.
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“If there is one first step that we may make in terms of loosening things up it may well be that people will be allowed access to grounds for restricted periods of time under supervision, though with no ball activity.
“If there are walkways available then the elderly in the community could go down at a particular time of the day and have a period to exercise. Then later in the day other people could do the grounds for exercise,” he explained.
Horan added: “If there was some structure on it then that could be reasonable, though all of these things are very fluid. That is why we are constantly in touch with each other to review the situation.”
With losses of at least €50 million now virtually certain unless there is a major acceleration in the positive fight against the coronavirus, the Association will look for financial aid from the government in the Republic as well as from the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Horan estimated that if a lockdown ruled out revenue source, the figure of €50 million could be very conservative.
The Ladies Gaelic Football Association said this week it was keeping fingers crossed that they could see some action at both club and intercounty level if they got the go-ahead from regulatory authorities.
The GAA world was rocked with the news of the death of former Offaly legend Paddy Fenning following a short illness. Paddy, who was 69, is famously remembered for scoring the winning goal in the All Ireland Final replay against Kerry in 1972 when his high ball from over 50 meters out ended up deceiving backs and forwards alike to bounce into the net as Offaly won by 1-19 to 0-13.
The Tullamore man won two All Irelands in ’71 and ’72 and went on to play for the Faithful County until the end of 1980, winning a fourth Leinster medal into the bargain.
He was an indefatigable worker for both the Tullamore and Offaly community and it was his ability to spearhead fund-raising efforts that ensured Tullamore Hospital has cat scans and other vital equipment over the years.
He bore his motor neuron disease with great dignity thanks to the support of his wife Kathryn, daughter Amy and son Barry. The streets of Tullamore were filled with people who, unable to attend his funeral due to the Covid-19 lockdown, wanted to show their appreciation to a favorite son.
Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a anam.