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Inter-county doctor says GPA calls for testing “unnecessary”

A former inter-county player who currently works as a doctor insists that the GPA’s calls for baseline testing of members is “unnecessary”

A former inter-county player who currently works as a doctor insists that the GPA’s calls for baseline testing of their members is “unnecessary”.

A former inter-county player who currently works as a doctor insists that the GPA’s calls for baseline testing of their members is “unnecessary”.

The Gaelic Players Association contacted the GAA on Wednesday, stating that their support for the championships will need to be reconsidered without certain criteria being satisfied.

One current club player, who lined out for his county at minor, Under-21 and senior level for a number of seasons this past decade, has dismissed the request.

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The Ireland health system is currently struggling to deal with a backlog of cases, with HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid apologising this week to the 2,000 people who were told to alert their own close contacts after they tested positive for Covid-19.

“It shows that they really don’t know what they’re talking about,” says the former inter-county star, who has asked not to be named, of the GPA demands.

“In theory it makes sense but in reality it doesn’t. Firstly, the test itself is really expensive and labour-intensive.

“It’s not like a simple blood test; they have to isolate this tiny portion of viral genetic material and amplify it to a point where they’re able to match it to a portion of the known COVID genetic material.

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“Initially back in March it took about 48 hours of hard work to get a result but now they’ve got it down to about 6-7 hours.

“And even still there are plenty of false negatives so it’s far from a perfect test.

“The machines cost millions of euro and there’s limited capacity. Ideally we’d test everyone in Ireland but we cant.

“And for an amateur sport which is essentially a hobby, I think it’s unnecessary.”

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The GPA contacted the GAA on Wednesday evening to request the following, “without which, the National Executive Committees’ support for the 2020 season will need to be reconsidered”

  • Baseline testing of all inter-county panels at the earliest date possible.
  • Robust matchday travel guidelines that protect the player’s welfare while adhering to Covid-19 guidelines.
  • All county boards and the GAA Central Council taking full responsibility for and ensuring that the training and playing environment is fully compliant with the Covid-19 protocols.

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