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Brennan's Brief How GAA committee's well-crafted plans for the year are now in debris

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If the GAA is on hold, our hopes that some semblance of normal life might soon resume are looking slim

If the GAA is on hold, our hopes that some semblance of normal life might soon resume are looking slim

If the GAA is on hold, our hopes that some semblance of normal life might soon resume are looking slim

So there will be no GAA training until April - and so no inter-county games until May at the very earliest.

Last night’s bombshell, from its own GAA Covid Advisory Committee, really did spread shrapnel all over the Association. Its well-crafted plans for this year are now in debris.

Will the 2021 Allianz Leagues be played now? Will, as happened last year, the clubs come back first? And, will we have another brace of pre-Christmas All-Ireland Finals?

All questions that arise after the GAA’s Covid Committee was informed by the Government that its inter-county teams were no longer considered ‘elite’ athletes.

Why the change? Officially because it was felt that GAA players who live, work and study within the community, could not form a contained ‘bubble’ in the way that professional rugby or soccer teams can.

True, but after everyone stuck to the rules last year, we saw Cork and Down footballers bend them to snapping point recently. The word from around the country is that a few more counties did too – it was Cork and Down who were caught. But all that would not have gone down well at all with Government or NPHET.

A Government that gave €15million to the GAA last year to play its Championship and a NPHET that, as we saw earlier this week at its Press Conference, has an issue with being questioned about matters.

Here’s another one. Why, in this lockdown, were golf and tennis not permitted? Both sports are non-contact, socially distant, played in the open air, and golf, in particular, attracts older people who need to get out of their houses for some safe exercise right now for the sake of their mental health.

But then again golf was at the heart of ‘Golfgate’ in Clifden last August, an event that brought down an EU Commissioner in Phil Hogan, a Government Minister in Dara Calleary and, almost, Seamus Woulfe, a Supreme Court judge.

Politicians can manage to get into enough trouble on their own – but they do not like outside agencies causing it for them. And though what went wrong in Clifden was the way a dinner was staged, it was the sport of golf that took the blame in the popular mood and the politicians were never likely to look kindly on the game again.

So now the GAA is on hold. If the GAA is on hold, our hopes that some semblance of normal life might soon resume are looking slim.

In fact the way things are looking this morning would you bet now on things not returning to some sort of normality until 2022? You might well collect, for this Government seems in no hurry to open any doors any time soon.

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