Crowds of 500 set to boost GAA and soccer games
HOPES are growing that sport in Ireland will be handed a significant boost with the relaxing of measures around the staging of outdoor events to allow up to 500 people attend.
As it stands, sporting events such as GAA club games and League of Ireland matches have been restricted to a maximum attendance of just 200 people, including players and officials.
Irish soccer’s domestic league returned last weekend in front of very limited crowds while GAA club games have also gone ahead.
Some of those matches have taken place in large stadia which led for calls for the attendance limits to be reviewed.
And while restrictions on indoor events are expected to be retained, the Government could be about to allow larger crowds attend outdoor events at a meeting this week.
Last month, GAA president John Horan (above) had called for that limit to be relaxed. “All we are trying to do is get people to be active outside and there is a pent-up demand for people to go to these matches,” he said. “I don’t think by calling for an increase from 200 to 500 that I’m putting public health or anybody at risk.
“We have put a lot of education and protocols in place to protect those involved in our games and I think it is a safe call to say we could cater for 500 in our stadia.” Meanwhile, ex-Carlow coach Steven Poacher believes there will be a “massive impact” if inter-county action commences later this year amid the threat of the coronavirus with some high-profile players stepping away from their counties.
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Poacher expects things to be anything but plain sailing when inter-county games resume from October 17 and he predicts that “the s**t might hit the fan around Halloween” given the high volume of GAA players who are working as teachers.
“I can’t see the intercounty season running as smoothly as we think it’s going to be and I think the s**t might hit the fan around Halloween. It’s a situation where we’re totally in the unknown,” Poacher said.
“My biggest concern is that intercounty is going to be played in the depths of ’flu season and that’ll have a massive impact.
“A high population of inter-county players are teachers and it’s the one environment where this thing is going to be rife. It will be a hub for spreading the virus so you wonder is it viable?”
Poacher (pictured) also expects many players to consider their short-term inter-county future.
“Players are going to start thinking, ‘Do I really want to go back to this? Do I really want to commit to this?’ A lot of these lads are enjoying their free time with their friends, wives and girlfriends and their weekends away and golfing and hill walking.
“I’ve spoken to a number of players who question whether it’s worth going back for such a short season in such a condensed period when people are trying to get back to a little bit of normality,” he added.