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Highlights on Off The Ball

"I'm questioning the real need or value of a GAA championship now"

Joined by Enda McGinley and Michael Meehan for a GAA championship preview, doubts were shared whe...


"I'm questioning the real need or value of a GAA championship now"

Joined by Enda McGinley and Michael Meehan for a GAA championship preview, doubts were shared whether it was wise to be playing inter-county sport in the current circumstances. 

On the eve of an All-Ireland championship like no other, opinions continue to swirl around what may be the best course of action for the GAA.

Before it was announced that the GPA would canvass their members on whether a return to play was wanted, Enda McGinley and Michael Meehan joined OTB AM to discuss the championship taking place with case numbers of coronavirus rising north and south of the border.

"I think the GAA's 'elite status' could be queried," argued McGinley, unsure that the association is equipped to carry out their competitions safely.

"In elite sports the players are being tested regularly and athletes are expected to be in bubbles. From the GAA point of view, everyone will head home to their families and jobs after a Sunday and then back into training again.

"So, why are we doing it? Why are we so insistent about going ahead and playing these games?

"I, like everyone else, can't wait to sit down and watch Tyrone and Donegal this weekend, but where is the point in that? That is a bit conflicting for me."

As the former Tyrone player revealed on Thursday's OTB AM, the virus has had a personal impact on his life after his daughter recorded a positive test recently.

Although he confirmed that she was asymptomatic and "blissfully unaware of the crap-storm she's let off," it only serves to highlight the risks that will be taken by those involved if a championship goes ahead as planned.

"I would have been a big advocate for us all needing the championships to run off just for the positivity it can bring," admitted Michael Meehan on Thursday's OTB AM.

"When you see how close it is coming now into everyone's homes, schools and workplaces though, how does that get worked out when you roll through the championship every week or second week?

"Unless the players were put into a bubble which can't actually happen, there will be infections within different squads. I hope it can work but I think there is a call to be made on this."

RELATED ARTICLE: Reports: Positive Covid test disrupts Wexford Senior Hurling preparations

Although the GPA will present their findings on what the current crop of inter-county players feel about the return to plan imminently, both McGinley and Meehan were unsure if they would have walked away.

For the time being, the championships will go ahead. To what end, nobody is sure.

"Are we going to have a decent championship where teams can play fully against each other, or is it going to be a soap opera each week in terms of who is in or out," asked McGinley.

"Unfortunately, I think the latter is the sort of championship we're going to have. The value of that and the real need for that is still something I'm questioning."

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All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Coronavirus Covid-19 Enda Mcginley GAA Gaelic Football Michael Meehan