Níl tuilleadh dá mhéad nach dtránn, and hopefully the tide of covid-19 is starting to turn.  Following the release of details of phase two reductions in restrictions by An Taoiseach on Friday, the GAA, LGFA and An Cumann Camógaíochta released a return to play protocol later that evening.  This is great news for all of us and lays out a pathway to a return to club games in August and inter-county games in October.

A question that is on many peoples’ lips is ‘will there be Summer Camps this year’, and we are delighted to be able to say that we are planning for Summer camps to go ahead from July.  This will depend on confirmation from the GAA authorities, and the format will be different to other years, but I’m sure that girls and boys in the area will be very happy to have an opportunity to get back playing with their friends. Once we receive confirmation that the Summer camps can proceed and information around the running of the camps, we will post this information on the club website and newsletter.’

The return to play document which has been endorsed by the GAA, LGFA and An Cumann Camógaíochta is a comprehensive one, but the highlights are:

  • Indoor facilities such as changing rooms, showers, gym and social facilities remain closed.
  • Signage and social-distancing markings must be put in place at all club pitches.
  • Hand sanitisation stations must be put in place for players, mentors and spectators.
  • Training during phase 3 will be restricted to non-contact in groups of 10.
  • Each team must appoint a covid-coordinator who is responsible for implementation of the regulations for that team.
  • Every player, adult and juvenile, must self-diagnose using a questionnaire and take his or her temperature prior to every training session or game.  The questionnaire must be signed by the player or by a parent or guardian in the case of juveniles, and handed to the team Covid co-ordinator prior to each training session.  The intention is that the questionnaire and temperature measurement would take place in the player’s home prior to attendance at training, and there is an underlying assumption that every home has a thermometer.
  • Every player and mentor must complete an online training programme and provide the team co-ordinator with evidence of completion prior to return to training.  This elearning module is not yet available but will be made available during June.
  • All equipment (sliotars, footballs, cones, poles etc) must be sanitised before and after every session.
  • No sharing of water-bottles, towels or other similar equipment.
  • A schedule of training slots and locations must be prepared and implemented to ensure that there is a gap between sessions to allow one team to depart before the next team arrives at a venue.
  • Only the players taking part in the session and their mentors may remain at the pitch during the training session.  In the case of juveniles, parents or guardians must drop and collect players and may not stay onsite during training.
  • All players, mentors and officials may opt in or opt out of participation in training or games at their total discretion and without any external pressure whatsoever.

A point to highlight is that while Government regulations allow small groups of up to 10 people to take exercise together during phase 2 (8th to 29th of June), guidelines for LGFA, An Cumann Camógaíochta and GAA do not allow collective training until phase 3, starting on the 29th of June.  All GAA pitches remain closed until that date, and player injury and insurance schemes will not cover activity before the 29th of June.  Tempting though it may be to get back out on the pitch straight away, we ask all members to hold tight until 29th of June.

We will be working under guidance from Croke Park and Parnell Park to implement the measures required between now and 29th of June, and if any mentors have any expertise or experience that they would like to offer as we get ready for return to training and games, please don’t be shy about stepping forward.  You can reach out to myself, Brian O’Regan or through your team mentors, and we’ll be delighted to get additional help.  One specific area where help will definitely be needed is that each adult and juvenile team will need to appoint a covid co-ordinator who will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of measures for that team as well as collecting and collating the self-diagnosis declaration from each player before every session.  Training will be provided for people filling these roles, and if you can do this for your team or for your son or daughter’s team, please let the team manager know.

Like all of us, I am really looking forward to seeing Ballyboden St. Endas teams back on the pitches next month.

For more information – https://www.dublingaa.ie/news/covid-19-update-safe-return-to-gaelic-games