Semple Stadium: Covid angst shows no sign of fading

While some of the talk around the possibility of a renewed lockdown and the efficacy or otherwise of vaccines and vaccine passes is framed by concerns over civil liberties, we are in danger of under-estimating the extent to which anxiety around Covid might have diminished.

The rising numbers, far from persuading people that what has been tried to date is not working particularly well, seems to have a majority of people believing that more rather than less restrictions might work.

It is easy – and correct – to call out the fanatics who wish to see non-vaccinated people, including young children, banned from almost every aspect of society including school, but for every Twittering fanatic there would appear to be ample numbers of quietly nodding affirmers.

I have already heard of people who have let it be known that they will not be attending family gatherings planned for Christmas because they are not sure whether all those who will be there, including children, will be vaccinated.

One social media influencer – or whatever banner she flies over her vacuous breakfast television philosophy of life – recently shared her outrage when she discovered that a child’s birthday party she was going to bless with her attendance was actually going to be three parties, not one. Like, Oh My God. Was there ever such an assault on the south Dublin bourgeoisie since they allowed vocational schools to enter, like, the Leinster Junior rugger Cup?

Anyway, happy to report that the rest of the guests had a narrow escape as the person in question avoided certain death by remaining within her gated community. The partisans at the Battle of Madrid have nothing on the courage of these folk. No Pasaran, goys.

Anyway, that’s like shooting fish in a barrel. It is of more concern when many of the normally sensible people of Tipperary are evincing the same level of Covid angst, as was proven by last Sunday’s county final between Thurles Sarsfield and Loughmore-Castleliney.

It was an epic encounter which ended in a draw, following a controversial decision not to award Loughmore a possible last-second sideline cut that you’d have fancied Noel McGrath to put over having landed an earlier effort on the far side.

However, that was not the main talking point. Afterwards, the County Board were forced into explaining why they had opened the Killane Stand to accommodate spectators in Ardán Uí Riain who had complained to stewards over the lack of social distancing. This being despite the fact that, as the stadium manager Con Hogan later pointed out to Tipp FM, there is no requirement on outdoor venues to enforce any such guidelines since they were lifted last month.

I was at Parnell Park on Saturday evening for the Dublin hurling final and the main stand was packed. The same was obviously the case at the Aviva Stadium for the Ireland v All Blacks game. Anyway, the point is that despite no doubt almost everyone in Semple Stadium being fully vaccinated, that the level of fear among many people has not dissipated.

Indeed, it would appear to be heightening in some quarters. Part of that is the relentless unceasing rant from the political and media establishment. If you were to solely be dependent on that for your view of the world, you would be doing well not be living in fear of other people killing you. Especially given that the “others” are people who you are certain or highly likely to know when it comes to family gatherings and club hurling matches.

With the current situation – in which almost universal adult vaccination and the accompanying certificate requirement for certain places has not prevented an escalating number of reported cases – it is increasingly difficult, one would imagine, to maintain the narrative that it is all the fault of a tiny % of unvaccinated.

That might be the logical conclusion, but logic has long since collected his/her/their coat and left the building. When the state has placed all of its chips on the vaccines and restrictions, it is too late for them to sheepishly leave the table and come up with a different strategy. The Covid Martingale will continue until either the gambler or the bank goes bust.

Semple Stadium by the way is currently offering Tipperary supporters the opportunity to pay to have a seat named after a family member. Perhaps if they offered some people the chance to purchase blocks of seats so that they could be certain that no possibly contaminated yoke was going to be within spitting distance, as it were, it would really take off.






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