The 26th of April set the return of play for underage teams to get back into the field for training in pods of five.
There were sighs of relief in households across the country as the government announced the return to play for underage training. The lifting of restrictions meant that the players and mentors could get back to what they love most, into the field and back playing hurling and football. Over the weekend I visited Naomh Eanna GAA Club and caught up with some of the parents and coaches to find out how they were getting on with their first month back to play.
“It takes a lot of work to get back to play in a safe manner to ensure members continued safety but it is worth it to see the kids faces”Colette Kinsella-Mini Academy Coordinator
Mini Academy Coordinator Colette Kinsella explained the process of getting back to play for the Mini Academy which consisted of 126 kids from ages 3-6 and 42 boys U-7 who also train every Saturday morning. “It takes a lot of work to get back to play in a safe manner to ensure members continued safety but it is worth it to see the kids faces”. She explained “We need a return-to-play e-module learning course completed for each child, covid questionnaires filled out and membership forms to start off with. Then week on week we have to make sure sanitisation stations are set up, pods of 15 organised and check-in each week to make sure we are complying with covid guidelines.” I stood in awe at the setup, it was done swiftly and safely, each child and parent queuing to check in as a coach made sure they were socially distanced. Each child busy with excitement and itching to get signed in so they could join their group for training. The air in the camp was full of positivity and anticipation for the children who were getting to socialise with their friends and play sport outised of the controlled school environment. The parents were equally as excited chatting and catching up whilst watching the children play.
“It is great to see them back doing what they love, it’s great for their mental health and the kids are happier when they get home”Siobhan Byrne- Parent
When training was over each person, including myself left the field with a sense of hope. The hope that we may see a summer of action in our GAA fields. It was refreshing to see things back to some sort of normality and that the team in Naomh Eanna doing such a great job of making sure that all protocols were followed so that the kids were as safe as they could be to ensure that the return is not a short-lived one.
Is there anything that you have been able to do with the lifting of restrictions that you feel like you are getting back to normality? Share your stories here