GAA community frustrated, it doesn't feel like we're all in this together anymore

GAA community frustrated, it doesn't feel like we're all in this together anymore
The best seat in the house as residents on Castle road watch Glen Rovers and Sarsfields during the SE Systems Cork Senior Camogie Championship at Castle Road. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

EARLIER this week, the Government re-introduced tighter restrictions on sporting activities. 

The Cork camogie board received the below email from the camogie association which outlined games had to go 'behind closed doors', with no more than 40 persons per team should be allowed access.

That was in addition to essential match-day personnel such as match officials (referees, linesmen, umpires), media and event officials like stewards.

One parent or guardian is permitted to attend matches for U18s. Training can only go ahead on the basis of no more than 15 people (including coaches) work together in a designated area of the field.

As ever, the association asks units and members “do their utmost to protect public health and we are very grateful for all of your efforts in this regard’’.

There was a lot of angry social media reaction to the Government’s announcement, GAA members a large part of that. It’s a different feel this time around, isn’t it?

FRUSTRATION:

It doesn’t feel like we are all in this together like in March. There’s a lot of blame being thrown around. In March we were all naive in a sense as to what faced the country. It was an unusual and fascinating time with all of us glued to Six One on a daily basis for updates and health briefings. We felt we’d do our part for a few weeks. Things were going to be ok.

The weather was particularly nice and we were all looking out for each other. There’s a different feel this time around. People are annoyed, but underneath that people are scared and tired. Heavily involved in GAA all my life, I still didn’t fully appreciate until now how important sport is in some people’s lives. For many, the GAA and a pint or a pot of tea in the local pub is the pivotal part of their day.

Without it, they are lost. They’d get days out of discussing their local club’s recent game and the plight of the inter-county teams. 

Then the focus would move to the next game and the opposition. It’s as important to a local community as the post office used to be. How much more isolation can these people take?

We’re close to autumn months, September to November. Our weather has been poor of late and the nights are getting darker earlier. It’s going to be more difficult this time around. The chances of an inter-county GAA season seems less likely than it did two months ago.

Olivia McAllen, Sarsfields, tackles, Aoife Barry Murphy, Cloughduv, in a recent championship game. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Olivia McAllen, Sarsfields, tackles, Aoife Barry Murphy, Cloughduv, in a recent championship game. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Right, so that’s the negative thoughts out of the way. What can we do to lift our hopes and spirits?

There is little point to the blame game. Thankfully we are shortly coming out of our holiday season and unnecessary visitors to Ireland should decrease — that’s a positive. Our schools are going back and I believe it is critical that they return otherwise the gap between the privileged and not so will widen. From an educational and social aspect, children and young teenagers need school. 

We all need to educate the young regarding Covid responsibility and do it in the most positive and uplifting way we can. We need to try and lighten the mood in schools when children and teenagers return and we can play our part outside the school grounds. There will be some that will buck the trend and teachers will have a difficult time getting the balance right in turning a blind eye and enforcing masks.

It can’t be a daily distraction. We need to try and unite each other again with the goal to minimise the spread of this virus. Improved and more regular communication is key. It’s too quiet on the leadership front in that regard. Small local wins should be prominent and highlighted and I think our councils and business groups such as the Cork Chamber of Commerce can play a big part here.

They’re too quiet. When the Oliver Plunkett Street eating took off there was a real feelgood factor to it. It gave people a lift. 

Of course, other businesses are suffering heavily. I know people are lying awake at night worrying about business and financial issues in general. Trained professionals need to be more out there advertising free consultations and solutions.

Sometimes people just need to know that they’ll get through something, that there’s light at the end of the tunnel no matter how distant that light may be.

We’ve got to encourage positivity and that, in turn, will encourage good behaviour and responsibility.

Get Garda-vetted and do what you can via Alone to call to someone that needs some company. Even a phone call helps.

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