'At the outset, may I state that I am writing this open letter to the respective Louth GAA/LGFA County Boards in good faith and with the very best of intentions.'
At the outset, may I state that I am writing this open letter to the respective Louth GAA/LGFA County Boards in good faith and with the very best of intentions.
In the midst of this living nightmare that we are all struggling through and suffering with, ‘coronavirus’, I’m acutely aware of the tremendous struggle and unbearable pain and grief that has stuck at the very heart of our society.
Since its foundation, the GAA has always been, and, please God, always will be, at the very heart of Irish life through sport: Athletics, football, hurling, camogie, handball, Scór, the Irish language and many more cultural and social activities.
In many parishes throughout our native shores and beyond, the GAA club has become the very ‘nerve centre’ and central, focal point of communities. As such, it has played a hugely significant and very important role for our people, young and old, in our parishes and clubs.
It is with this in mind, it seems inconceivable to me that the GAA, in any way, shape or form, would jeopardise the health and wellbeing of any of its members, players, officials, supporters and, most importantly, the families of its players.
There is hardly a club in the entire country that has not got a very vulnerable person attached to, or associated with, it in some way. The inherent risk and danger to their health and lives should far outweigh any possible disadvantage of ‘loving to play or watch sport’ or ‘boredom’.
It is impossible to countenance any field sport, such as football, hurling or camogie, being able to continue without physical contact. Impossible. A simple fall or accidental collision, that may require first aid or even hospitalisation and then the return to the family home afterwards, is quite simply fraught with an unacceptable level of danger. It must not happen. It can’t.
I am urging the respective Louth County Boards, through their chairmen, to take the lead here and in the interest of our cherished families, to immediately take the decision to abandon any thoughts of having any competitive GAA action this year.
Make that decision now, if only for the mental health of all our players who are constantly struggling with the uncertainty of it all. Do it for them. Why can’t Louth be the leaders for a change and do the right thing?
Constantly ‘following’ and never leading has left us bottom of the pile. Division Four yo-yoing to Division three every second year. Nothing to lose. Try leading for a change and give our players, supporters and their family members, who are healthcare workers, a break. Please, do this now and the benefits that will accrue will be peace of mind and a resilience to come back better and stronger.
Skill competitions among clubs would be an alternative, where no physical contact would take place, through catching, kicking for scores, goalkeeping, solo running through obstacles etc. These are but a few of the skills that we could embellish if we embrace it with the right attitude.
Please, Louth, show the way, lead the way, be the first and make our stand, a remarkable one, for the general good and health of our county. It’s never too late to do the right thing.