This might help out those in Government who don’t want to move to stage five. It will also, paradoxically, strengthen NPHET by showing that Holohan still has considerable influence, even without a stage five lockdown:
Breaking – the GAA is set to announce the immediate suspension of club games at all levels across the island of Ireland. Club social centres and bars are to close too
— Denis Hurley (@Denis_Hurley) October 5, 2020
This is, presumably, at least in part connected to the scenes in Cork yesterday, after Blackrock won some cup or other:
Just as Glanmire GAA were called out it's now Blackrock GAA's turn.
This is an absolute disgrace, the GAA do whatever they want when they want.
How irresponsible is this when stage 5 is lurking.
LOI clubs are doing everything they can and will be punished for others stupidity. pic.twitter.com/nIqAx2I1df
— Domestic Ireland (@DomesticIreland) October 4, 2020
Telling people to observe social distancing at games, and restricting attendance, is one thing. Dealing with the reality that the average Irish parish will go buck wild whenever the local team wins the county title is quite another.
The GAA may well be playing a political game here, too: Offering to shut down the club game now might be a canny political signal to the Government that it will play ball on helping stop the spread, but that the forthcoming winter championship for county sides can still proceed, on the grounds that there will be far fewer people involved, and the audiences will mainly come on television and radio.
Also, in most counties, the shortened club season is almost over, anyway. The majority of county finals will already have been played, and even in those counties where that’s not true, a majority of clubs will have been knocked out at this stage. The actual impact of this move on the number of games being played might be minimal, compared to the PR effect of the announcement.
Ironically, the people most affected by this might be at underage level, where a fair number of games are still to be played. That’s unfortunate, and unfair to the kids involved. They can probably thank the people of Blackrock for that one, though, alas.