Today is a great day for GAA players, coaches and fans across Waterford as adult teams are allowed back to training in GAA grounds on a non-contact basis complying with strict protocols while juvenile and minor teams may resume training on Saturday next under the same conditions. On Monday next all teams may resume full contact training and play challenge games under the same conditions that include sanitising and logging of attendance for tracing purposes.
Between now and next Monday club training will see no more than 15 players allowed on field at any one time for a no contact training session and with a return to normality on Monday no more than 200 people will be allowed to be present in the ground for a training session in line with government guide lines.
There is no doubt that compliance with the protocols surrounding the resumption of activities will heap pressure on already hard pressed club officials, particularly where juveniles are involved. What is difficult to reconcile is the decision to allow full contact training and games from Monday next and the fact that dressing rooms, in particular, hurling walls and ball alleys must remain closed until July 20thnext.
When it comes to training most clubs would have two dressing rooms available at their grounds so social distancing would not be a problem in the changing room or having showers after training. Apparently, clubs will be allowed to open dressing rooms in order to provide toilet facilities for players, mentors and those attending sessions. In the case of clubs having challenge games at their grounds visiting teams will have to tog out in their cars or bus and not have a shower until they return home. Having played a full contact game such a situation makes no sense at all if sanitising and social distance protocols are observed following a game or training session and the matter should be re-visited by the GAA’s Covid-19 Advisory Committee.
The big news from Croke Park at the weekend is that club championships can commence two weeks earlier than originally set out (July 17) and that gave the Waterford CCCC an opportunity to ease the pressure on clubs that saw most having to play two games inside four days or maybe less in the original fixtures. This is exactly what they did at last night’s online meeting with the County Senior Hurling Championships now coming forward a week from August 1 to July 24-26.
The County Senior Football Championship stays as it was with the opening rounds taking place on the weekend of September 4-6.
The County Junior B Football Championship will commence on the same weekend, September 4-6.
The County Minor Hurling Championship will commence on July 31 and the County Minor Football Championship looks likely to throw-in on August 24 but this is to be confirmed.
The CCC will reconvene tomorrow night (Thursday) to finalise the fixtures and the details will be forwarded to clubs on Friday, June 26.