The sports-mad people of Ireland received the news we had been waiting for this afternoon. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced that groups of up to 15 people can assemble to train from this Monday.
Initially, the return to training for teams had been staggered across Phase 4 and 5. However, today the Taoiseach accelerated the release of Ireland's lockdown in many areas, including sport.
The official wording on the government website allowing non-contact training is:
Groups of up to 15, including trainers and coaches, may return to non-contact outdoor training activity (but not matches) while maintaining social distancing at all times.
Sport Ireland also revealed details of how Ireland's professional athletes will return to training from Monday in a statement.
Athletes allowed to return to training are those included on the Sport Ireland International Carding Scheme and senior athletes in a National Governing Body that is in receipt of Sport Ireland High Performance Programme Funding. Also permitted to return are a number of players who derive a living from competing in football or rugby as identified by their respective governing bodies.
It also specifies that 'high performance athletes and professionals' are the athletes who can formally return to training. These athletes will also be allowed to travel outside of a 20km radius and/or county boundary to train.
The GAA is not mentioned anywhere in the government's plans. It is still unclear when GAA grounds will formally re-open. There were reports earlier in the week that the GAA will be making a formal statement about its plans on the 2020 club and county championships once the government had announced its plans regarding Phase 2. Until we get more clarity, it appears GAA teams can meet in groups of fifteen in parks and open spaces from Monday, but not on its own pitches.
A statement from Minister of Sport Shane Ross said that youth training will not be allowed during this next phase.
Shane Ross and Brendan Griffin statement lists teams that can return to their designated training centre on Monday. Athletes and staff from 21 sports can travel beyond 20km. No youth training permitted yet (best of luck with new terms on outdoor gatherings) pic.twitter.com/nivdVw08ZI
— Daniel McDonnell (@McDonnellDan) June 5, 2020
According to the minister: 'it is not yet possible to extend this accommodation to youth athletes and others; for now it has to be limited to a defined list of athletes and coaches.'