Sean Kelly: Ban counties who break training rule from National League

“I think debarring them from the next competition, which in this case is the national league, would certainly put manners on them.”

Former GAA President Sean Kelly believes that the GAA should come down harshly on any counties found to have broken the training ban.

The punishments could even include banning guilty counties from this year’s National League.

Sean Kelly

Police were called to a Down GAA training session during the week while Ronan McCarthy’s Cork had a ‘team building’ session in Youghal.

Kelly, who was speaking in The Irish Times, feels that if there is clear evidence of a breach of the training ban then the GAA must act decisively.

“It should be easy enough to monitor whether teams are training or not. It’s not a small operation convening a group of players to train,” said Kelly.

“I think debarring them from the next competition, which in this case is the national league, would certainly put manners on them.

“Any team doing that is trying to get an edge over everyone else, trying to take advantage and displaying a very poor spirit.

Kelly also raised the question as to whether the families of both players and management were aware of breaches in the Level 5 guidelines.

Kelly continued: “I have to say, I doubt if the families of players and of management and of county board members would find it acceptable to be so irresponsible.

“I can’t believe it’s a widespread thing. It may be a case that counties had plans in place for January 1st. Then, when the new year came around the situation deteriorated very quickly.

“At the same time, it’s no harm to have a carrot and stick approach with this. The stick should be that if clear evidence of a breach is there then it’s debarment from the competition. That’ll sort it out pretty quickly.”

Anthony Daly

Anthony Daly responded off the back of Sean Kelly’s comments, airing his deep frustration at counties who have breached the training ban.

“I was mad, literally mad when I read some of the stories from various counties. Managers telling us they were team building under medical supervision and not training, this kind of thing,” Daly said when speaking to RTE’s Saturday Sport.

“For me, we look at the country, we look at our neighbours across the water [in England]. I lost my first cousin yesterday in London, a very fit 72-year-old man…it’s a no-go now.

“We just have to hunker down and get the thing in control. For people to be breaking that for inter-county or whatever, that’s a no-go for me.

The former Dublin hurling manager feel there is no excuse for counties to breach the current rule. He believes anyone caught training should be faced with “a severe punishment.”

“Everybody has the methods now. Be it through Zoom or whatever they use, everybody has an idea of how to get their programmes out,” Daly explained.

“There’s no excuses anymore. I just think a severe punishment has to be meted out, whatever it is, whether it’s being thrown out of the league, maybe that’s not severe enough, I don’t know.

“It has to be coming from Croke Park, right from the top, to say, ‘no, this is not being tolerated, no excuses are allowed here.’

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