By Kieran Murphy
THE decision taken by the GAA Management Committee to suspend all games at all levels with immediate effect and until further notice has left the latter stages of the Carlow football championships drifting with no indication when they are likely to be completed.
Carlow had seen all their hurling championships finished but the football has not been so lucky. John McDonald, the Fixtures Secretary, had worked well with the clubs but all that good work has been put on hold.
“It is desperately disappointing. We were so near and now so far,” the Carlow officer said.
“We had two finals (intermediate and junior) down for decision this week and two senior semi-finals. It is very disappointing for the players, the mentors who had put in so much work for it to be stopped right on the line.”
McDonald is looking at the decision from both ends. On Monday morning there had been an endless feed of pictures on social media of the Blackrock supporters celebrating their county senior hurling success in Cork the previous day. This follows closely on similar scenes from GAA games in Northern Ireland.
“I can understand it. I can see the clubs’ point of view. Some clubs hadn’t won a championship for 60-70 years and it is hard to hide your emotions after that length of time. It is very hard for everybody.
“I just wonder did they (the GAA Management Committee) jump the gun a little bit, I don’t know,” reasoned the Fixtures Secretary.
“Many of these players have been together weeks and weeks. It isn’t as if there are three or four clubs thrown in together.”
Going forward the spotlight will fall on intercounty training and whether it will be allowed to continue.
“It is a waiting game. You are going into the winter. The weather is deteriorating. How long will be the players be allowed to train together? Is there another lock-down coming? We don’t know the answers to these questions yet. Going forward in relation to intercounty that will be another question which will have to be asked,” McDonald says.
In the meantime he paid tribute to all the clubs in the county who had worked so hard to get the hurling championship completed and were within days of having two football finals played.
“I would like to thank the clubs for their cooperation. It made my job easier and it is just such a pity we haven’t been able to finish the competitions.”
As well as the implications on the local fixture calendar, Old Leighlin ladies will now have to wait and see when their Leinster Intermediate final against Wicklow’s Tinahely, due to be played next Saturday, will now be played.