Return to Play Delivered

It was a bell weather moment in the return to sporting activity as GAA pitches across the country filled up last night with children, adults, mentors, coaches and Covid Supervisors.

This was one of those occasions where you just wanted it to happen with no adventure, no confusion and plenty of flushed faces at the end.

The GAA had provided plenty of common sense information by way of an e-learning module that everyone getting back to training needed to complete. There was a course for Covid-19 Supervisors that told us what our new and very particular responsibilities were to be, and there was a health questionnaire that everyone had to fill out and reconfirm on the day of training.

No symptoms, no known close contact, no foreign travel in the last 14 days, off you go then.

All the modules stood up well as they flooded in over the last few days and the decision was taken based on club circumstances whether to go with an online or a paper based form of record keeping.

For those who can the digital world is so much easier to manage and yesterday’s feature on some of the new technology which companies like Clubforce and Surpassport are providing to assist shows how well they are catering for the needs of volunteers.

The GAA operates in a variety of locations, in the lee of some pretty big mountains though, and technology is not yet all pervasive across the country so there had to be an option.

There were of course some teething problems in terms of how the system was implemented by so many different size groups but the compliance in our group of U15 girls training together for the first time since March was 100 per cent.

A few reminders about keeping gear bags a little further apart were obeyed and the hand sanitiser application before taking to the pitch was done with a smile. Coaches were dispatched to wipe down goals and the balls had never looked cleaner, the bibs had never smelt so fresh.

Our club fields well over 100 teams and the demand for pitches was a challenge but one that was met.

The understanding of what needs to be done should someone display symptoms or feel unwell at training was understood and we were ready but thankfully it did not need to be applied.

The record of who was there and their health questionnaire will be stored for three weeks in compliance with HSE practice and it all went off with smooth efficiency.

The amount of work that went in from volunteers on zoom calls to get things in motion, and from those who sourced the packs of sanitiser, masks and gloves was immense.

It felt no doubt for some as though it was simply too big to implement properly but once we found our flow, it settled into a good rhythm and the most important thing of getting teams back to physical activity in a safe environment was done.

Now to do it all again tonight with the U13 Boys…

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