After the recent spike in Covid-19 cases in the country, the Irish Government announced a sweeping range of measures on Tuesday in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.
The restrictions, recommended by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), have been widely criticised in the country with accusations of ‘inconsistencies’ and sport in Ireland didn’t escape when it came to the announcement.
Having previously allowed crowds of up to 200 people (including players and backroom teams) at Irish sport, the Government decided to move all sport in the 26 counties behind closed doors until September 13, and it’s fair to say the measures have caused huge frustration for the Irish sporting public – particularly to members of the GAA.
After the restrictions were announced James Shortt of Paddy Power TV caught up with Waterford hurling legend and Paddy Power ambassador John Mullane to get his views, and he didn’t spare the hurley on it all.
“It’s absolutely ludicrous what they (the Government) have come out with,” said an angry Mullane.
“It’s a total contradiction when you see weddings are still going ahead and indoor gatherings like restaurants and pubs are still going about their business. I was at a game with my own club De La Salle playing Mount Sion at the weekend and social distancing was adhered to.”
The Waterford minor final took place last night and John was keen to point out the apparent inconsistencies of the measure for players and supporters attending that game.
“Ballygunner and Abbeyside were in the Waterford minor final and it was being streamed on YouTube” said the Waterford icon.
“But, you had some of the parents having to drop their kids down to the gate and then they had to go to a hotel function room to watch the game.
Would they not have been safer outside at a big GAA ground than inside in a hotel function room?
“It’s frustrating, but these are the times we are living in at the moment.”
Finally, Mullane believes that the weight of public pressure on these measures could see the Government reverse their decision to implement them.
“I think it (the restrictions) with be overturned,” said Mullane.
“I would be going the opposite way if it was me and move from 200 to 500 people. Look at the stadiums we have on offer in this country.
If you are telling me you can’t put an extra couple of hundred into any GAA stadium in the country that can cater for anything over 10,000, 20,000 people and above, that’s mindboggling!
“Then you have a situation over the border in the North where you can have up to 400 people at a game. But, thankfully we still have games to look forward to. Common sense has to prevail here though!
“The majority of people across the country have adhered to all the guidelines, but the current ones that have been rolled out just don’t make sense at all.”
- Bounce over to Paddy Power News for more GAA previews and to read our columnists
- Placing bets is easier than ever with Paddy Power News’ live odds banners