By Paul Healy
Flights and hotel rooms in London have been cancelled, dressing rooms around the county remain locked, pitches lie empty in spring sunshine…that’s the reality of the GAA landscape in Roscommon in early April 2020.
The postponement of the Connacht Championship game between London and Roscommon – which was due to take place on May 3rd – was inevitable, and thankfully announced in good time. The postponement follows the suspension of all GAA activities until further notice, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
There may be no GAA action of any kind nationwide, but many GAA personnel throughout the country are actively involved in helping others at this very challenging time.
I contacted Roscommon County Board vice-chairperson Brian Carroll on Monday to get an update on what’s happening – or not happening – in the Roscommon GAA world.
London v Roscommon
The Connacht Championship opener was to take place on Sunday, 3rd of May next. While the Covid-19 lockdowns currently in place in the UK and Ireland may be over by then, the GAA took the decision to postpone the London-Roscommon game last week, being cognisant of the fact that thousands of supporters had made, or were making, travel plans.
County Board vice-chairperson Brian Carroll, who had been organising the logistics, told the Roscommon People on Monday that all team-related flights, hotel bookings, etc. had been cancelled. “Flights and hotel rooms, etc. were all booked in November and have now been cancelled. The hotels were very understanding and cooperative” he said.
Future of this season’s competitions
The cancellation of all GAA activity has led to speculation about the implications for the remaining rounds of the National Football League, and perhaps more so for the 2020 All-Ireland Championship.
Brian Carroll: “I know there has been speculation about a shorter All-Ireland campaign, different formats, etc. Realistically, it’s just too early to say what will happen. We do not know for how long the restrictions will be in place. That is not a priority; the priority now is everybody’s health. Let’s get through this safely and then we can think about (the games)…”
The GAA response on the ground
Brian Carroll said there has been a massive response by GAA clubs in County Roscommon in relation to assisting people at this difficult time.
“The response has been fantastic. Our GAA clubs have put plans in place to help people in their parishes…in our towns and villages. The response has been terrific, and has placed the GAA at the bedrock of our communities. Many other organisations are also putting their shoulders to the wheel.
“What is important now is that people get through this crisis, that we look out for the health and wellbeing of everyone in our community. The GAA is there to help. On behalf of the GAA, I want to wish everyone well. We appeal to everyone to adhere to the HSE guidelines and do not hesitate to contact your local GAA club if you need assistance”.