GAA approach much different this time out – Kavanagh

RORY Kavanagh believes that the GAA’s reluctance to kick back against the recent announcement, that the inter-county game was no longer covered under the government’s elite status, is well measured.

Last year, Croke Park was very vocal and at times insistent that Gaelic games should remain on the agenda during the Covid-19 pandemic.

And indeed, when it did eventually resume, the GAA ran off their competitions in a very competent and safe manner.

Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers explained over the weekend the rationale behind Gaelic games losing elite status in sport, while League of Ireland soccer is allowed continue.

He said that the sport was given an exemption last winter during a period where the Covid-19 landscape was not as difficult as the last number of weeks, and that none of the Gaelic games organisations had not shown “massive appetite” to return in the “medium term.”

Former Donegal star Kavanagh admits he feels for both players and management teams that had already circled a March return date on the calender.

But he says the GAA’s decision to not to push their case this time out is probably the right one.

“Listen, these are really difficult times,” said Kavanagh, a primary school teacher at Scoil Cholmcille in Letterkenny.

“There is a real sense now that we have to get this thing nailed. This yo-yoing in and out of lockdown is no good for anyone’s mental health. It’s not good for society in general because every sector is under real strain now.

 “I see it myself from the teaching point of view. Parents are under serious pressure working and trying to home school.

“It’s not a good mix long-term. It’s time now we got a real handle on this thing. In terms of sport, it puts it into real context at this moment. Everyone is suffering.

“For us that are involved in sport, yeah it is disappointing because there doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of that tunnel.

“I know they’re saying until at least Easter. But there’d be ones sceptical about that. If you’re a club person you’re thinking Easter for the county but that could mean September for them.

“That’s a long way away.”

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has stated publicly that the matter would be reviewed when the government’s ‘Living with Covid’ roadmap is redrafted in the coming weeks.

The National Football League has already been truncated into groups of four, so realistically it could be played over four weeks.

If the month of April is given to pre-season training and May to the league, the championship could still start in mid to late June.

“The landscape changes very quickly with this virus. I think the Donegal lads and the management will be well aware of that. They’ll be keeping themselves prepped and primed.”

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