Dublin manager Dessie Farrell has asked public authorities to consider allowing friends and family of players to attend the All-Ireland Gaelic football final.
Farrell was speaking to RTÉ after his side’s convincing 1-24 to 0-12 All-Ireland semi-final win over Cavan. He spoke of his desire for more people to be in attendance at Croke Park.
“We’ve had this conversation amongst ourselves. We had a number of our backroom team not able to come tonight because the numbers wouldn’t allow it, but yet they are at our training sessions a couple of times during the week.
“So it doesn’t make a lot of sense from that perspective. They are in our family, in our bubble if you like, so that’s disappointing.”
The former Dublin forward spoke at length about the issue. He referenced shopping centres being full with people.
“You look around the country today, we are back at level three. Every shopping centre the length and breadth of the country is full of people buzzing around.
"It's probably the least that players deserve in how they've applied themselves throughout all of this, if a couple of family members were allowed attend on the biggest day of the year"
— Dublin GAA (@DubGAAOfficial) December 7, 2020
“The GAA have demonstrated they can manage this situation really, really well. I think having another couple of hundred or a thousand people here for both hurling and football finals would make very little difference.
“I am encouraging the authorities to think about this, that for a player to end up on the pitch here tonight, or on any given day, there is a huge amount of support in the background, family members, loved ones, friends, work colleagues that make huge sacrifices to allow that to happen.
“And you know, from a player’s perspective they would love to recognise that and they would love if they were in a position to attend an all-Ireland final.”
Reacting to the interview on The Sunday Game, Colm Cooper and Kevin McStay had contrasting views.
Cooper backed Dessie Farrell’s comments and urged the GAA to do everything in their power to make it happen.
“At the end of the day, it’s an 83,000 seater stadium. It’s a very special day when your brother or sister play in Croke Park.
“I think it’s something that should be looked at. I think it could be facilitated, I think there’s a massive appetite from both teams there. If it can be done at all, the GAA should give it every possible chance to make it happen.”
Colm Cooper and Kevin McStay discuss the feasibility of allowing close family members of both panels to attend the All-Ireland football final #RTEGAA
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) December 6, 2020
However, McStay was more cautious given the current public health situation.
“I’m trying to stay in reality here. We like to think it’s our very special day and the big cultural day in the country with the hurling final and football final but there’s other sports as well who have had to suffer the same with no spectators.
“I don’t disagree with anything Dessie is saying but it’s impossible to see in the current climate.”
The football final is set to take place on Saturday 19th December. It will be interesting to see over the next few days if there is any change in policy from public health authorities.
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