Larry Tompkins: GAA without fans just doesn't have the same buzz

Larry Tompkins: GAA without fans just doesn't have the same buzz
Cork goalkeeper John Kerins follows team captain Larry Tompkins in the parade before facing Meath in the All-Ireland final at Croke Park. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

CORK legend Larry Tompkins believes inter-county action without fans will lack the usual buzz and excitement.

The All-Star forward was speaking on the GPA’s podcast The Players’ Voice, which is out today on Soundcloud, Spotify and Apple Podcasts, ahead of what was scheduled to be All-Ireland Football final weekend.

Club games are currently in full swing behind closed doors, while the revamped inter-county schedule from October could suffer a similar fate.

“The crowd, they’re so important because in the lead up to the game they get the adrenaline going. The excitement before a Munster final, the thrill of that weekend and the meeting of people, you know, it gets the blood rising.

“When you arrive in Killarney or Páirc Uí Chaoimh or whatever like, it was just a magic occasion. You feed off the crowd, they give you such a buzz and excitement.”

The former Castlehaven captain calls supporters the "heart and soul" of the Association.

“You meet so many great people in the GAA; they’re heart and soul is in it. For myself and Jacko [Jack O'Shea] and Colm [O'Rourke] that have played at this level, we have been the lucky ones to go out there between the white lines and be able to play for your county. 

"A lot of these people are not able to get there but would have wished to be out there as well. You just feed off of that energy and that excitement.”

Tompkins is directly impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, with his pub in Cork city reduced to opening from Thursdays to Sundays.

“I’m in the heart of Cork city here and there’s lots of great pubs here. Most of them are well (run); they’ve done a lot of work to their pubs and premises to get open. 

Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Picture: Eddie O'Hare

"It’s just frustrating because I can’t understand that we hear and we know of all these house parties that’s are going on and different things; surely if the pubs were open people would have more places to go and as I said, business people, they do things right like and for the small few that maybe get things wrong, I think they should be penalised. 

"But I think overall, when you look at the heart of Ireland it is the country areas lads an it’s soul-destroying to see so many places closed. Just look at Cork city like, it can be depressing walking around it and seeing so many places closed.”

Belive, Tompkins' autobiography, is due out in the coming weeks.

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