GAA president Larry McCarthy says fallout from Dublin training session will not affect April 19 intercounty return
GAA president Larry McCarthy does not think that the fallout of Dublin’s controversial training session will impact the return of intercounty action on April 19.
On Tuesday evening, the Irish government announced that senior county teams could return to play in the coming weeks. Croke Park then pleaded with its members to hold firm until the dates in which they are permitted to return.
“It is more important than ever that no collective training sessions are held between now and the Government indicated return dates,” wrote McCarthy and director general Tom Ryan.
“Breaches in this context will not only be dealt with under our own rules but would likely put the broader plan to return to activity in serious jeopardy.”
On Wednesday morning, nine players from the All-Ireland champions’ panel convened for a training session.
“I don’t think honestly that it is going to impact [the return to play on April 19]. This particular incident. Now if there was another one, that could make it very, very difficult for us,” McCarthy told The Big Red Bench.
“But I’m reasonably confident at the moment that we will get back, assuming that the [Covid-19] numbers stay where they are, and that the public health authorities don’t decide that they’ve gone array over Easter or anything like that.”
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When the news emerged on Thursday, Dublin GAA acted swiftly and issued a 12-week suspension to manager Dessie Farrell.
The GAA are currently going through their own disciplinary procedures.
“Coiste bainistí (the GAA’s management committee) had an emergency meeting on [Thursday] and we appointed an investigation committee to look into it, as we did with the Cork incident earlier in the year and the Down incident. So we’re adopting the exact same procedures,” McCarthy outlined.
Meanwhile, the GAA’s top brass are preparing to rollout an updated fixtures plan for 2021.
“We’ll have a comprehensive games programme,” McCarthy said. “It’s going to be concertinaed a little bit. So it’s going to make it a little bit more difficult and a little bit more challenging. But I’ve no doubt we’ll do it.
“With the help of the counties and the help of the players, we’ll have a programme of games right through the summer. But the more important element of that is I just hope we get the clubs up and operating. The 98 per cent is more important than the two per cent, but the two per cent are our shop window. The idea here is to get the clubs back as quickly as is feasible.
“At the moment, we only have permission for the intercounty stuff to come back. We’ll run a league and we’ll run a championship, and see where we go after that.”
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