Aidan O’Mahony: I hope the GAA’s decision is about players not money

October is a long way away.


The way the inter-county season has been left, by pushing it out to October, is leaving players totally in limbo.

Having training banned until further notice for intercounty lads – who train week in, week out and give their lives to the game – is very tough.

There’s only two weeks of the National League left, but now it’s pushed back until October – being an ex inter-county player, your mindset is telling you that we’ll have no Championship this year.

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That’s just the way your thought process is and it’s very tough on players. All the work that has been done up to now has gone out of the window, and you’re going to end up starting all over again.

You’re talking six months. It’s the unknown and uncertainty that’s the hardest part. Are things being  back to October to see what happens? Is it a case of training resuming in October? Is it when the Championship kicks off?

It appears a case of ‘we’ll see in October’. For me, the main thing is the false hope that’s there now. If someone came out and said the Championship was moved until 2021, then you’d say fair enough.

These measures are being taken to flatten the curve, but Wednesday’s statement from the GAA didn’t put any clarity on things.

You think about the players giving up everything to get back on the pitch and now not knowing if it’s going to happen.

You can have your WhatsApp groups and Zoom meetings, but it’s not the same as being on a pitch. It’s fine to be training on your own, but there’s nothing like somebody beside you driving you on. It’s not going to get you match fit.

I think opening up the pitches on May 18th and having players return to training, in groups of four and social distancing, would have been important and beneficial. And beneficial for players’ mental health.

You were giving the players the option of even going and training on their own on the football pitch, and not drawing the crowds in. That would’ve been a very good option.

Now you’re going to have the case of players running on roads and looking for places to go training.

Why are the GAA against playing behind closed doors?

I don’t know if the GAA were put under pressure by what An Taoiseach said on the Late Late Show last week, but I hope it’s not about money and it’s more about the players.

Like a case of ‘we’re not opening the gates because there’s no financial reward coming in’.

There’s a lot of talk that the GAA won’t open Croke Park unless there’s a full house.

If the players are happy to play behind closed doors, then go or it. An All-Ireland medal is an All-Ireland medal whether you play it in front of a full house or with nobody there.

It’s the same on the club scene – if the games are to go ahead, it should come down to what the players want.

And, right now, I think every player in the country would love a kick of the ball, never mind a game – even if behind closed doors.

So, I’d be in favour of an All-Ireland series behind closed doors, and I think the players would too. At the end of the day, players just want to play.


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