It had been flagged that change was coming but still when the news arrived from An Taoiseach on the steps of Government buildings that the Covid restrictions on movement, gathering and life which have dominated the last two years were being removed there was a sense of amazing relief.

That they should be so from 6 AM on Saturday morning was right as to delay the euphoria of freedom from the worst of the virus would have been to little purpose.

Teams of stadium operators at Thomond Park, Parnell Park, Semple Stadium and more went to work on opening up the gates once more and allowing 16,000 to see Simon Zebo score for Munster rather than the 5,000 they were expecting.

More young kids will have seen and celebrated Ballygunner and Ballyhale Shamrocks making it to the AIB All Ireland Club Hurling Championship than looked like being the case when we went into Lockdown again before Christmas.


Omicron has proven to be, so far at least, a less painful sting in the tail of Covid and so we can regain our lives and our passions with as much spontaneity as was always the case before March 2020.

Of course, care will need to be taken and we are now in a much more aware space of maintaining good hygiene. We are hyper-aware of the potential danger of hidden viruses and maybe maintaining a little more personal space than once was the case can be no bad thing.

But we can be social once again. We can meet with less fear and less minute planning. We can take the Covid Cert off our favourites bar on our phones and we can look forward to normality returning.

In our small world, we have been able to press the button on a first in-person networking event as part of our Sport for Social Good conference and report with our partners Allianz.

Virtual Lessons

We do not yet know the long term impact of how virtual attendance has spread the net wider for people coming to learn and hear from great speakers but now we have the chance to experiment.

On February 24th we will host an online Conference in the morning and we will then gather with a Members event to go deeper with some of our speakers later in the day.

The detail of these new found freedoms are still being worked out but they are being so with a sense of excitement.

There will be much work done in the coming weeks on getting people back to offices and workplaces. How will the ‘hybrid’ model of working play out in reality? It is probably more something that older workers will want to maintain. For those starting out on a life in a workplace, and a life in society, they will be more likely to press for the collegiate experience of going to work, of sharing impromptu conversations and not having to plan everything on the hour of an endless video call cycle.

Universal Experience

This has been a universal experience of change. We need as a society to learn from what we did better through being apart, to save those elements and enhance the revival of being together.

Sport has shown itself to be strong, resilient and a core part of our social fabric over the past two years. Perhaps more so than we were ever able to fully appreciate. Society in the shape of the government we elect has recognised that by paying to keep the show on the road when other revenue streams were crashing around us.

We have had All Ireland Finals, World Cup Qualifiers and Six Nations tournaments played in front of empty stadia but they were played.

We have come through a shock to the system that was as brutal as it was unexpected, but we are still standing.

We need to recognise that there have been losses, friends departed without the opportunity to mourn, experiences foregone for our children to have enjoyed and more.

But today we can emerge blinking into the light of getting back to normal, and navigating what that will be as a result of what we learned in the past two years.