Former Kerry star Aidan O’Mahony has strongly criticised the GAA for their lack of clarity in deciding if and when the season will recommence.
In a statement earlier this week, the organisation said they hope both club and inter-county games will be played this year. However, the GAA confirmed that no inter-county matches will take place before October.
“The GAA still firmly hopes to be able to play county and club competitions this year, subject of course to public health guidance. We can confirm however that no inter-county games are expected to take place before October”, the statement read.
However, Paddy Power GAA Ambassador and columnist O’Mahony believes that the GAA have only provided “false hope” to players and all involved.
“The way the inter-county season has been left, by pushing it out to October, it’s leaving the players totally in limbo.
“Having training banned until further notice, for the county lads and lads who train week in, week out and give their lives to the game, is very tough. There are only two weeks of the league left, but now it’s pushed back until October – being an ex inter-county player, your mindset is telling you that we’ll have no championship this year.
“That’s just the way your thought process is and it’s very tough on players. All the work that has been done up to now has gone out of the window, you’re starting all over again.
“You’re talking six months. It’s the unknown and uncertainty that’s the hardest part. Are things put back to October to see what happens? Is it a case of training resuming in October? Is it when the Championship kicks off?
“It appears a case of ‘we’ll see in October’. For me, the main thing is the false hope that’s there now. If someone came out and said the championship was moved until 2021, then you’d say fair enough.
“These measures are being taken to flatten the curve but Wednesday’s statement didn’t put any clarity on things. You think about the players giving up everything to get back on the pitch and now not knowing if it’s going to happen.”
While not ruling out the possibility of playing games behind closed doors, the GAA stated that there is a “lack of appetite for this type of fixture-scheduling”.
A number of players have said they would be open to playing in empty stadiums and O’Mahony questioned whether the GAA’s stance was based on financial gain.
“I don’t know if the GAA were put under pressure by what An Taoiseach said on the Late Late Show last week, but I hope it’s not about money and it’s more about the players.
“Like a case of ‘we’re not opening the gates because there’s no financial reward coming in’. There’s a lot of talk that the GAA won’t open Croke Park unless there’s a full house.
“If the players are happy to play behind closed doors, then go do it. An All Ireland medal is an All Ireland medal whether you play it in front of a full house or with nobody there.
“It’s the same on the club scene – if the games are to go ahead, it should come down to what the players want.
“And, right now, I think every player in the country would love a kick of the ball, never mind a game – even if behind closed doors. So I’d be in favour of an All Ireland series behind closed doors, and I think the players would too. At the end of the day, players just want to play.”