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Alan Cadogan had a stormer against Seán Finn of Limerick last May but we might not see him in red against this year. Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Alan Cadogan had a stormer against Seán Finn of Limerick last May but we might not see him in red against this year. Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

We can't help but pine for the GAA we're missing as summer set to slip past

CORK and Limerick at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on the opening weekend of the Munster hurling championship... would have been a belter. 

The undoubted low of 2018 was when Limerick inflicted a harrowing loss on the Rebels at Croker, while the only real high of 2019 was the ambush at the Gaelic Grounds. There was that cracking June Bank Holiday weekend draw two years ago in the Páirc and plenty of bite in the league meetings.

Cork-Limerick is a tasty modern rivalry but one that looks increasingly unlikely to be renewed at any stage in 2020. Instead of tuning in to The Sunday Game last weekend to rewatch a Patrick Horgan wonder-point or an outrageous Cian Lynch flick, we were treated to sombre opening address from GAA president John Horan.

All quiet at Páirc Uí Chaoimh last Sunday. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
All quiet at Páirc Uí Chaoimh last Sunday. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

It was like going to the cinema for an action-packed comic-book movie but ending up watching Joker. Gripping but grim. Not that we're heading to the pictures again anytime soon either.  

Even though the interview with Des Cahill didn't tell us what we all wanted to hear, that hurling and football action is resuming shortly, it was well delivered and to the point. 

For the average GAA fan, the standout aspect of John Horan's presidency has been the debate around the huge investment in games development in his native Dublin. Here he stepped up when needed to offer the type of leadership lacking in Britain and the USA, let alone sport.

GAA President, John Horan, being greeted by young Sars players at the opening of the Eddie O'Connell All Weather Hurling Complex. in February. Picture: Mike English
GAA President, John Horan, being greeted by young Sars players at the opening of the Eddie O'Connell All Weather Hurling Complex. in February. Picture: Mike English

The Sunday Game thrust him in the spotlight during an extremely difficult period for everyone and his straight-talking was commendable. The notion of any return to league or championship with social distancing measures still in place, even behind closed doors, was quashed.  

It was why, he explained, GAA pitches are currently off limits for any activity, even a puck-around or a stroll, until at least July 20.

"There was a concept in it that people could gather together in groups of four but we felt that that just couldn't be marshaled within our clubs and that's why we continue to keep our premises closed," he said.

While Horan admitted that revenue losses of up to €30 million, in Croke Park, and €50 million, nationally, will be bitterly felt if the year is a write off, the GAA aren't willing to risk members' health and safety.

"The key thing is it's a contact sport, our concern has to be the players on the pitch, their families and their work colleagues and they are all amateurs. I know they take it very seriously at inter-county level and they have a very professional approach to it but we cannot risk anybody's health. 

"When all this is over and we're all back to normal life, I would hate to think that we as an organisation made a decision that cost any family a member of their family."

None of that makes it easier for the players, mentors and the wider GAA community left in cold storage.

The unfinished 2020 leagues are effectively gone, Horan conceded. This is galling for the Cork footballers who, with five wins out of five, were virtually assured of promotion from Division 3. 

It's a frustrating period for younger players too. 

Shane Irwin, Erin's Own, takes on Rian Redfern, Naas, in last year's Féile. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Shane Irwin, Erin's Own, takes on Rian Redfern, Naas, in last year's Féile. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Some would have represented Cork Sciath na Scol in the half-time Primary Games ties in Thurles and the Páirc, many more were looking forward to taking part in the Féile with their clubs, others would have been in the Development Squad system and the chosen few selected as county minors.

At the most basic level, the pure, simple pleasure of knocking a ball around and having a bit of fun at training is being missed from U6 upwards.

That was a stunning promo for The Sunday Game, produced deftly by Elaine Buckley, lamenting the summer that is "out of reach". 

Even the inevitable provincial championship defeat to Kerry seems hugely appealing right now. 

The GAA could go for the nuclear option and forget about the October target for inter-county and the season overall. Or they go opt for a club-only campaign.

It's preferable to access the situation again in mid-summer to gauge what's viable by then. At least leave us with some hope.

Cork camogie star Amy O'Connor training last weekend. Picture: INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Cork camogie star Amy O'Connor training last weekend. Picture: INPHO/Dan Sheridan