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West Cork GAA Shutdowns Reveal Covid-19 Challenges For All Clubs

West Cork GAA Shutdowns Reveal Covid-19 Challenges For All Clubs

Allow us to present three news stories from Ireland this week: one from Dublin and two from West Cork.

Yesterday in Dublin, the HSE released worrying statistics on the presence of Covid-19 in this country. It isn't just that Ireland's R rate is at or around 1 again. Of the 23 new cases reported, 77% of the people who test positive were under 25. 100% were under 45.

Down in Bandon on Wednesday, gardaí stopped a large house party from taking place. They said up to 80 people had taken a bus to Bandon from Carrigaline to attend the party and made two arrests were made in the process.

Not far away from where that party took place, GAA activity in West Cork is under the spotlight, as it's been reported that at least two clubs around Timoleague have shut down training activities following possible contact with a person who tested positive for covid-19.

Ballinascarthy GAA confirmed it had suspended all activities today on Facebook:

To all Ballinascarthy GAA and Camogie Club members, please note that collective team training at all grades is temporarily suspended to comply with HSE public health advice and guidance from Croke Park on contact tracing protocols.
This decision is taken to ensure the continued safety of all members of the Ballinascarthy community and will be reviewed again early next week.
We continue to advise all members to adhere to HSE social distancing, hand hygiene and cough etiquette guidance.
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Here's what Argideen Rangers wrote on Facebook:

Just to let our members know that as a precautionary measure we have decided to press pause on all group club activities ‪until Saturday, July 11th.‬ We will update you again on Saturday.
This is a precautionary measure, and is because a number of club members have told us that they may have been in contact with a person subsequently confirmed to have Covid-19.
We in Argideen Rangers GAA feel it sensible and prudent to temporarily suspend both underage and adult group activities. We understand that anyone identified by Public Health authorities as a close contact will be tested for Covid-19.

As ever, the GAA reflects Irish life. The behaviour of young people is imperative if we want to keep covid-19 at bay. And it is fundamental if we want to have a club GAA season this year. It's one thing for the Premier League or the AFL to restart after the lockdown. Professional sports organisations can test players regularly and keep them isolated from the general public. Club GAA managers do not have anything like the same power. One positive test in a closely-knit rural area like West Cork can disrupt the GAA infrastructure all around: not just senior, but all club activities.

With all the signs pointing to a big uptick in Covid-19 cases, the onus is on young people to social distance, wear masks, avoid house parties and behave responsibly. Club players are always reminded of the responsibility that comes with wearing their jersey. That responsibility has never been heavier than right now.

Donny Mahoney

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