The Paudie Palmer column: Time is right for a return to our GAA pitches

The Paudie Palmer column: Time is right for a return to our GAA pitches
 Nemo Rangers and Cork footballer Paul Kerrigan. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

I WAS just wondering was there ever such a marked difference between the digits one and two as is presently the case. 

Prior to the arrival of the Corona virus in to our land, would you have noticed a huge difference between one and two euros, or the presence of two cars in a driveway instead of one. 

Even if somebody told you, that there were a pair of rich guys living up the lane from you and one of them had a property portfolio of a million and the other rowed in with two million, I bet you would still think that they were just two wealthy boyos.

Now all that is changed since the term social distancing was introducing in our lives. 

Honestly, I never heard of the term prior to this and what’s is more I never paid a whole lot attention to the difference between one and two metres.

Last Friday Joe McHugh the Minister for Education and Skills informed us that if a social distancing requirement of 2 metres was applied to Irish Primary Schools in September, children would attend school for just one day a week, however if the figure was reduced to one metre, pupils would be able to attend for 2.5 days. 

Then we had some somebody with a penchant for the seating arrangement in Croke Park informing us that the difference between one and two metre scenario would mean that the capacity could be more or less doubled from 21,000 to 42,000. 

Yes my dear friends, our perception of the difference between one and two has been altered for ever.

Back to the school scenario, Minister Joe went for broke and informed all to forget about the one and two metres and that schools would reopen without social distancing. 

To be fair to the man, he did imply that other measures such as enhanced hygiene etc would be put in place but his headline announcement had many parents and educational staff reaching for the help advice button. 

For of those who work in the educational field, many of them would be aware of Minister Joe’s solo runs, a skill that probably will ensure that when Michéal or Leo announces the new government team, Joe will do well to make the extended match day squad.

Are we there yet, could be a term that could very well apply to the GAA’s return to action plan but for a few deluded moments I thought that we would be spared the club versus inter-county debate. 

Not at all, as soon as the statement was released, it was back on the agenda. 

In a nutshell, County Boards will have 11 weeks to complete their various championship beginning on the August weekend right up to the the middle of October. 

In the circumstances I think that you would have to agree that it’s a reasonable time frame, yes I am aware that there is a cohort of people who are of the opinion that there should be no inter-county programme this year but sin scéal eile.

In terms of the aforementioned inter-county scene, players can return to training on September 14th with a games to begin on the October 17th at the earliest. 

All well so far, well, not really because it would appear that some County Boards have already produced a programme that appears to be geared to suiting the inter-county preparation programme rather than utilising all of the 11 weeks. 

In Wexford, we are lead to believe that their senior club teams expected to play 3 championship matches in a week. 

I have encountered more that one individual who have suggested that a certain inter-county manager’s fingerprints were all over this document. 

One contributor went so far as to suggest that Davy Fitzgerald would view this year’s championship format as a serious opportunity for his latest adopted county to bring Liam to the Southeast as the belief is that counties such as Cork, Tipperary and Galway will afford their respective club championships the full allocated time. 

So if that be the case the column will be supporting any team that comes up against the yellow bellies in the upcoming Liam Winter Championship.

Whereas many counties have produced a programme for their club championship, Cork have decided to wait until Croke Park produce their inter-county championship programme which I think is a good idea, in that it will provide a certain date on which the Cork footballers and hurlers will begin their respective Munster campaigns. 

This in turn should go some way to inform the Board as to how much real time it has to run off the club championships. 

The hope of the column is that both Ronan McCarthy and Kieran Kingston will realise that for this year at least, that they will put the club scene ahead of their own ultimate objectives. 

I think that Cork GAA fans would perfectly understand if they issued a statement to that effect which would mean that inter-county players would be fully available to their clubs for the duration of their championship campaign.

In future columns, we will hopefully return to the subject of the format of this year’s county championship but at this stage I think the GAA should allow clubs to open their pitches so that their player can train with the benefit of insurance cover. 

Last weekend we had club teams training on beaches, farmers fields, driving ranges, pitches owned by second and third level educational establishments and other locations. 

Time now, to allow them on to their own sod.

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