WE’RE all still a little bit in limbo as to the club and inter-county GAA season.
Will it, won’t it go ahead and if it does, in what format?
Cork camogie manager Paudie Murray is positive things can resume soon.
"I’m positive that we’ll be back doing something late June and in July we might finish the league and the championship might start in August,’’ said Murray.
I have my doubts that the league will be completed, but the Cork boss feels otherwise.
“I think they have to finish the league, for the sponsors if nothing else."
Cork’s championship was pencilled to start on the weekend of June 13. Paudie feels that “10 weeks would finish our championship. They may not necessarily hold the All-Ireland date of September 6, that could push it out and if it does, so be it.
“Regarding the clubs, I see that the All-Ireland hurling and football club series are gone, which I was expecting. I would expect that camogie will do the same in that there’ll be no All-Ireland club finals this year.
“If the club scene started in the middle of September and finished at the end of October it would be fine. We were in CIT on a Friday evening in October for the semi-final between Killeagh and Inniscarra last year, there was a massive crowd and a massive atmosphere there."
If the inter-county championship does start in August and takes 10 weeks, then you wouldn’t see club action start until mid/late October.
In that regard I feel that the inter-county league could be forfeited.
“There are talks circulating that they might run off the clubs before the inter-county. If the clubs could start in July and work through to the end of August and the inter-county series started then and finished October 31 or afterwards.
“That’ll probably also become a ‘backdoor’ situation where if you lose two games you’re out. Now the social distancing is the only thing you would query.
"But I’m thinking we will be allowed to do some form of training towards the end of June. Based on what was said in relation to gatherings of 5,000 there should be no reason why we can’t fulfil a lot of our fixtures this year."
Does he feel the group structure of the championship will change?
“I can’t see why they’d have to change it. We’re out five weeks on the trot. I think they’d finish it in 10 weeks."
Paudie mentioned the social distancing issue and that’s where I feel the real problem lies. I’m not so sure it’ll be that straightforward to run games off.
Camogie wouldn’t get 5,000 spectators at a round robin game so they’re okay there, but you’d have 30-plus players on top of each other during games, sweating, where undoubtedly fluids transmit during games.
Between panels, management, backroom staff, groundsmen, county board members etc the numbers don’t take long to rise.
You would have players travelling in buses, going home to families after mixing on a pitch. Yes, the numbers are within the criteria of volume, but if social distancing is still the priority for Government, and we’ll find that out on May 5, then we’ve an issue.
Insurance could play a big part here too. Will players be covered? How strict are the insurance companies going to be without a vaccine? Will they cover organisations?
Government aside, a large section of the ethos of the GAA is dedicated to player welfare and this falls under that bracket. I think there’s a lot to consider and it isn’t as simple as just going out there.
I feel sorry for Cork minor players in all codes. This may have been the only year some are eligible and the championship could be cancelled. That’s their dream gone.
I know there are more important matters, but to a minor who wants nothing more than to play for Cork, it’s hard.
Jerry Wallace, the Cork minor camogie manager, is in the dark as much anyone as to what will happen. Last weekend the All-Ireland minor final was to be played and Cork were hoping to be there fighting for a three in a row.
The Midleton man is upbeat however with his panel. They aren’t putting any pressure on the girls. Some of them will now sit the Leaving Cert in late July.
‘We’ve been keeping in contact with the girls,’’ Wallace said.
“All along it’s just been once a week. Martin Enright, who does fitness for us, sent in some nice videos. But we’re not asking them to stick to any programme.
"I know there’s a lot of mentors asking their players to go out every day telling them to do this and that. I’ve gone about it the other way. If they can do a small bit, say 15/20 minutes twice a week and not feel that they have to be doing it every day at the same time, that it’s not pressurised.
“Because they’re juvenile players, we decided we wanted their training to be age specific. The gym work that’s coming into them from Martin, it’s maximum twice a week and we’ve asked them to take their brothers, sisters, and parents out the garden for a puck around as well.
“In their runs we’ve asked them to do no more than 4km, 2k out and 2k back and it’s working out fine."
We’ll see what the next few weeks brings. Stay safe everyone.