It goes without saying that county boards around Ireland are working on plans for the return club GAA action and while the organisation is still taking a very cautious approach, RTÉ are reporting that there is hope for club games to resume earlier than initially thought, should the government acclerate the reopening of the economy and make any changes to the two-metre social distancing rule.
"For now, it’s a case of monitoring and planning," a source told RTÉ Counties are reported to be open to implementing a variety of safety measures, including the staging of matches behind closes doors, zero access to dressing rooms and a limited number of venues hosting matches, along with some other measures detailed in the RTÉ piece.
The GAA's Advisory Group met earlier this week and speaking to GAA.ie, GAA President John Horan once again mentioned the two-metre rule as a stumbling block for any possible return to play:
"There's no talking about 'we won't be back until there is a vaccine' and there is no talking about 'we won't be back until social distancing is acceptable' but as long as social distancing is the priority at two metres that is a big hurdle for us to bringback contact sport."
Earlier this week on Tuesday, Uachtarán CLG, John Horan, explained why the Association has adopted a safety-first approach when plotting its return to play road-map. #GAA #GAABelong pic.twitter.com/TPujppfiug
— The GAA (@officialgaa) May 28, 2020
While Horan is aware that there is growing frustration, any decisions about a return will be made in line with government guidelines:
"We set up the advisory group in regard to the Covid-19 epidemic for that purpos - to give us the advice that can be got for us to make the decisions. And the clear focus of this group and of ourselves is to get a return but this return has to be safe. I fully understand that there's a huge frustration out there and you can see articles in the media where people are pushing to actually go back but if you take into account what the government has said, the government guideline pushes out to a date of the 20th of July.
"We have never pushed beyond that date. As I have said in a previous interview, if we can bring that forward we will bring it forward but we will only do it in a prudent manner and a manner that is safe for our membership."
Meanwhile, when it comes to the opening of GAA facilities for running and walking tracks etc. the GAA's director general, Tom Ryan told GAA.ie:
"It's important that we get back to using our facilities for those purposes as well. But it has to be done in a controlled way. And it has to be done in a safe way. The over-riding thing all the time is safety. That little group is going to help us with regard to how we might tackle that and how we might embark upon that. That very definitely will be part of the little roadmap that we'll map out for the Association and for clubs over the course of the next few weeks."