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“I don’t want this to be seen as Blackrock bashing” — reaction to suspension of all club games

Fintan O’Toole on the GAA calling off all club games, the government moving to level three, and non-GAA communities’ viewpoint

Shane Stapleton and Fintan O’Toole of The 42 on the GAA calling off all club games, the government moving to level three when NPHET had recommended level five, and how non-GAA communities have viewed indiscretions by clubs and their members.

Yesterday, prior to Micheál Martin’s announcement that the country would be moving into Level 3, the GAA outlined how they would be suspending all activities citing “a number of incidents that have been brought to our attention in recent days.

“​In particular, post-match celebrations and a lack of social distancing at certain events.”

Fintan O’Toole believes that this announcement was inevitable with growing concern at the behaviour of some patrons at GAA events.

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“There has been some discontent, people watching games on RTE or TG4 and wondering, ‘are those people spread out?’

“I’ve heard stories of stewards trying to move people are matches and they won’t move. Ultimately it comes down to personal responsibility and the GAA is no different in that.”

However, O’Toole argues that the organisation has done all it can thus far with the public having to take more responsibility for their actions.

“I wouldn’t bash the GAA because I don’t know what more they can do at a national level or even at a county board level.

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“The Cork county board can plead with clubs, and I don’t want this to be seen as Blackrock bashing because one thing I would be wary of is judging something solely on a video.

“There are various rumours around the country that this is not just a Cork issue but across the board.

“I just don’t think people are as compliant or buying into it as much as we did in March.

“I don’t think people are going to think of the repercussions, I think they will focus on the moment, to cherish something they long sought after and finally achieved.”

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Nonetheless, with the majority of club competitions completed, O’Toole believes the GAA have done well to get so many competitions completed but were forced to take a stand due to recent incidents.

“Overall it has gone remarkably well. I didn’t think that we would get 24/25 county senior championships and a whole host of underage grades completed and be in this position in mid-October.

“But, in a wider sense, it seems the whole thing is a bit more volatile right now and the GAA is an example of a club caught up in that.”

However, he is hopeful that the break can allow for a successful inter-county period which is due to start later this month.

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“I think the GAA  were trying to send out a message. Maybe they were trying to settle things and get things to cool down before trying to run off the intercounty season.”

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