Open The Gates!!!

Jess Brennan – Blessington 

As a lifelong LGFA member covering many capacities, I need to give my view as a player, manager & parent. I have always had the utmost respect for the GAA and LGFA and all the personnel involved but the recent decision of both associations suspending the injury fund is disgraceful. This has angered me so much I have had to hold back big time from commenting on certain articles or posts on the GAA & LGFA social media platforms! I suspect from seeing some of the posts that I won’t be alone with these views…

How does either association see it ok or the right thing to do by taking away the one bit of assurance and security we have throughout this living nightmare? All the while they are still promoting everyone keeps fit active and healthy. Look at the amount of teams & their management the length & breadth of the country doing everything they possibly can to keep their players connected, keep some sort of normality with setting individual training drills/sessions, tik tok videos, Zoom sessions which is the highlight of everyone’s week still getting to at least see their team mates, and boy do we need all of that with no training facilities permitted to be used.

Sticking to the keep active ethos, of course players continue with all of the above but at several locations around their local areas, would it not be safer in our GAA grounds!! Beaches and parks are packed, yet GAA pitches remain closed. Teenagers getting the blame for congregating in groups around villages & towns. Why? Because these locks remain bolted and routine is gone out the window but it doesn’t have to still be this way. We have endured over 2 months of it now and it has taken a lot of adjusting physically mentally and emotionally for players, opening of pitches should be a priority now if we value player’s mental health and trust them to still adhere to social distancing guidelines.

I can only speak on behalf of the teams I’m involved with and my own club and I am certain we are mature enough to respect the importance of people’s lives and safety, at the same time policing and structuring a way of working a gradual return to play. July 20th is too far away, the government eased restrictions for pitches/parks on 22nd May and a week later the LGFA drop the bombshell of suspending the injury fund…step backwards in my opinion. Just when we’d had a glimmer of hope after two hard months of keeping everyone as motivated as possible, parents and players alike are now fearful of continuing with any further training/activities Incase an injury was to occur. Why continue to promote activity if pulling the plug on insurance? A bit hypocritical to be honest.

Dublin LGFA referees are doing a wonderful fundraiser this weekend, the GAA referees a few weeks back also and many many clubs and counties have contributed so much of the same, my club raised money for DoItForDan and RoarForRuairi. One thing to still come to the fore throughout everything is sporting & community spirit so we would ask the GAA & LGFA to please take a player’s perspective here, we need the pitches, we need to kick a ball around knowing we are safely doing so, we need your backing as we have always had your back and have always been proud to bare the logos on our chest. There is only a certain length of time we can keep going with no drive, no real competition. We don’t want to lose players and I fear that will happen the longer we remain locked down. My own daughter who I coach at U14 level, has become so disconnected and down in herself, struggling with anxiety that I never seen coming. She is normally so socially interactive and lives for football and thrives on being around her friends. She has been avoiding even phone contact with friends. This is one young girl, how many more boys, girls, men or women do we think are now in this situation?? Frightening to even think.

Groups of 4 is permitted now, do the right thing and let us start with that, anything is better than nothing and please god before we know it we’ll all be back properly playing, coaching, refereeing, supporting the game we love🤞🏼