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Limerick goalkeeper Dr. Donal O’Sullivan believes benefits of GAA return outweigh ‘minimal risk’

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“If it is done right, with strict social distancing, no congregating indoors and good hygiene measures, I think the social benefits outweigh the risks involved. There is minimal risk outdoors.”

Limerick’s goalkeeper Dr. Donal O’Sullivan believes the social benefits of a GAA return outweigh the “minimal” risk to the health service.

O’Sullivan was speaking in the aftermath of the latest announcement from the GAA in which they stated that there will be no return to collective training or matches until after Easter at the earliest.

This has led to widespread speculation that 2021 could follow a similar calendar to 2020 where club championships were run off first before a winter inter-county championship.

gaa return

Dr. Donal O’Sullivan

Since the Covid outbreak began in Ireland, O’Sullivan has worked multiple 24-hour shifts at University Hospital Limerick.

Therefore, he knows better than most just how serious the situation could get for the health service if there was another surge of Covid cases.

“It’s a long road to recovery for some people,” the goalkeeper told RTÉ.

“It’s not a simple virus and that’s a huge element of worry. It’s been a difficult year around the country but at least we’re in a position where we’re able to help and contribute.

“I’m very mindful people are in worse situations.”

donal o'sullivan

Although O’Sullivan was disappointed with the announcement, he can see the reasoning behind the decision.

“It’s disappointing but it’s understandable,” the Monaleen clubman continued.

“I can see why the government and GAA have come to the decision when not so long ago, ICU was at capacity, and schools are closed.

“At the same time, the year gone by really highlighted the social importance of the GAA for me. It’s good for your physical and mental health, it equips people with social skills. GAA has really given me the skills to survive the year.

“It’s a very healthy pastime if done right. It has minimal risk with regards to over-running the health service and the capacity of ICU beds. That has to be clear in decision-makers’ heads.”

donal o'sullivan

GAA return

The 29-year-old believes the GAA led from the front last year and showed their games could return safely and without that many major clusters breaking out in different parts of the country.

“If it is done right, with strict social distancing, no congregating indoors and good hygiene measures, I think the social benefits outweigh the risks involved. There is minimal risk outdoors,” O’Sullivan explained.

“I thought it worked very well (last year). There were very few clusters of cases. Like anything, there is a risk involved and you have to weigh that up against the benefit. I think the social benefit of doing it in a safe manner outweighs the small risk.

“It’s been a difficult year around the country but at least we’re in a position where we’re able to help and contribute. I’m very mindful people are in worse situations.”

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