“People have nothing to look forward to.”
Gearoid Hegarty has voiced his frustration at the continued postponement of GAA matches and training, arguing that supporters have nothing to look forward to.
Hegarty was speaking to the media following his 2020 PwC GAA/GPA Hurler of the Year award after his exploits propelled Limerick to a second All-Ireland title in three years.
The Limerick wing-forward didn’t hold back when he was asked about how important the last two All-Ireland wins have been for the people of Limerick.
“As you grow older you realise the importance of these things,” Hegarty told reporters.
“I always say the last 12 months have been so tough – people have nothing to look forward to.
“Just having something to look forward to, whether that be – obviously there was nobody going to games last year but – club games or going to a training session, meeting other people.
“Life is so tough at the moment for people.”
The St. Patrick’s club man feels many people have been left with nothing to look forward to and no end in sight.
“I don’t follow case numbers too much or I don’t look at the way things are handled but I think it’s clear to see that the way things are being handled is so so poor,” Hegarty explained.
“I don’t know how these people are getting away with what they’re doing because in any other business – or walk of life – they’d be let go or sacked or whatever you want to say but people have nothing to look forward to.
“It’s mind blowing that we’re still in the position that we’re in. We’ve been in lockdown for so long now and case numbers are still incredibly high – I don’t know why they are.”
Gearóid Hegarty wins the 2020 PwC Hurler of the Year award – 'I was having a look at the hurlers that have won it over the last number of years so it's an incredibly illustrious list to join' pic.twitter.com/sRHS8bG6Oh
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) February 20, 2021
The 26-year-old was keen to stress that he wasn’t following everything on the news. So, therefore wouldn’t consider himself an expert, but feels the simple thing of having something to look forward to has been taken away from people.
“I don’t know too much about it so I’m wary to talk about these things because I don’t know a lot about it,” Hegarty insisted.
“There’s obviously context behind these things but it’s the simple thing of having something to look forward to.”
Nevertheless, Hegarty does feel that positives will come out from the prolonged lockdown. He is looking forward to getting back to collective training with Limerick once the Government give the go ahead for a GAA return.
“Such a simple thing that people took for granted in time and I’m sure when we get out of this thing that people will really focus in on what’s important to them.” Hegarty added.
“A lot of positives will come out of this thing, people will stop doing a lot of things that are meaningless to them but as I said, having something to look forward to is so basic and everyone took that for granted before.
“You know yourself, it’s a tough time and purely from a selfish point of view, I am looking forward to getting back training because you get to meet some of your best friends again, work hard and have a bit of craic at training because it is tough times.”
The two-time All-Ireland winner wants to see the return of limited crowds into games this summer.
“Even talking to my father last night – he was able to deal with not being able to go to games but Limerick fans have been waiting so long to see a bit of success,” Hegarty stated.
“Obviously, they got their moment in 2018 but they’re still starved of success and they’re fanatical fans down here.
“People are just mad to get back going to games and I don’t know whether they’ll be back this year or not but if they’re not, they should be making some sort of contingency plans to get fans into games in some capacity.
“If it can be done, it should be done. In my opinion, it probably can be done.”
The Hurler of the Year then said he believes that social distancing could take place in Croke Park, which has a capacity of 82,000.
“You can socially distance – I don’t know but I’m sure they’ve done research into it – a couple of thousand people in Croke Park no problem whatsoever.
“Even if you can just get your family and close friends in or whatever in some capacity.
“I think it could be done and if it can be done, it should be done because people have nothing to look forward to at the moment.
“As depressing as that sounds, it’s the reality we are living in.”