Oisin McConville: GAA in Northern Ireland should be allowed return before south

“If we have the opportunity in the North go to back on the pitch, that’s exactly what we should do.”

Oisin McConville has said that Gaelic Games in Northern Ireland should be allowed to come back before the Republic of Ireland if it is safe to do so. McConville was speaking following comments from Ulster GAA secretary Brian McAvoy which ruled out any differences between the approaches of each Irish jurisdiction.

Oisin McConville.

The 2002 All-Ireland winner strongly disagreed with McAvoy’s comments and said he would like to see the GAA return in Northern Ireland if the opportunity arises.

“If we have the opportunity in the North go to back on the pitch, that’s exactly what we should do,” McConville told BBC Sport.

“Obviously, the vaccinations in the North have been a massive success – not so in the South.

“I don’t think it’s right to punish a certain section of the GAA because they are are not in line as far as government or opening it up.

The RTÉ and BBC Sport pundit only wants to see a club return in the North first, which would not leave Monaghan, Donegal or Cavan inter-county players at a disadvantage.

Nevertheless, he feels it is essential that the GAA gets some of its members back playing, instead of waiting for an All-Ireland approach.

“The message is very, very simple. Don’t punish 25 per cent of the association because we don’t have our ducks in a row elsewhere,” McConville continued.

GAA elite status. 

The Armagh man also stated that the GAA should have made a greater effort to defend their elite sport status in the Republic of Ireland.

“When the GAA was approached about losing their elite status… stand up and fight for your elite status,” McConville added. 

“Over the last number of months, we’ve been crying out for John Horan or somebody within the GAA to just say ‘listen lads… we need to get people back on the pitch particularly young kids’.

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