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Coronavirus: Two more deaths and 22 new cases as GAA pitches set to re-open this coming Wednesday

The Department of Health confirmed that a further two people have died with Covid-19 in Ireland.

It means that the number of people in this country with the Coronavirus who have sadly died is 1,715.

The National Public Health Emergency Team has also said that a further 22 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed, brining the total in this country to 25,374.

In a statement this evening, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan confirmed that of the 22 confirmed cases reported today, nine of these were diagnosed in people under the age of 35.

“It is important for us all to remember that Covid-19 is a disease that can affect everyone, of any age or background. No one should feel that this is a disease that does not affect them,” Holohan said.

Meanwhile, the GAA have accelerated their return-to-play roadmap in line with the government, with pitches to open for non-contact adult training from next Wednesday, June 24.

Initially the pitches were due to stay closed until July 20, though that was since brought forward to June 29 – and now to June 24.

Games are also allowed to restart on July 17, two weeks earlier than the original date announced of July 31.

There is a likelihood that Laois GAA will avail of this extra time and start the local club champioships a week or two earlier. They are expected to make an announcement in that regard this week.

Non-contact training for age groups from minor down will commence from next Saturday, June 27.

Further government rules must be adhered to: counties in the Republic of Ireland are limited to a maximum of 15 players in a designated area of the field, while the six counties are limited to 10 players per designated area of the field.

These new protocols were recommended by the  GAA’s Covid-19 Advisory Committee, and have been endorsed by the GAA along with the LGFA and Camogie Association.

All players and participants in training must complete an eLearning module and follow control measures in place.

Contact training and challenge matches will be allowed in the 26 counties from Monday, June 29, with the GAA awaiting guidance from Stormont on when teams in the six counties can resume contact training. In the meantime, they must maintain non-contact training.

While next week’s training sessions are for participants only, these rules will be relaxed from June 29 in line with government advice permitting a maximum of 200 people in the ground.

Club fixtures can be staged from July 14, and there has been no change made to the slated inter-county dates. County teams are permitted to start training again on September 14 with competitions set to start on October 17.

Dressing rooms are to remain closed until 20 July, while the Advisory Committee are considering the position of other buildings including gyms, handball alleys and club bars serving food, with guidance on these expected by 29 June.

The full details of the updated GAA advice can be read below.

From this week: 

  • Open pitches for Adult training next Wednesday, June 24.
  • Open for Minor and below from Saturday, June 27.
  • Both of the above on a non-contact basis and on the understanding that players and all participants have completed the eLearning module and are following the control measures in place (health questionnaire etc).
  • On the basis of a maximum of 15 players in a designated area of the field (26 Counties) and 10 players in a designated area of the field (6 Counties).
  • Coaching numbers for underage teams to be consistent with Code of Behaviour.

From June 29:

  • Allow contact training and challenge games for all from Monday, June 29 (26 Counties).
  • The GAA await clarification on what will constitute a close contact versus a casual contact.
  • Restriction on participants only attending training sessions to be relaxed from June 29 – subject to government specified maximum of 200 people in the ground.
  • Allow Club Fixtures from Friday, July 17
  • No change to inter-county dates (14 Sept for training; competitions to start on October 17 as planned).
  • All control measures for players, coaches and other team personnel (completion of health questionnaire, eLearning education etc) is to remain in place until advised otherwise; dressing rooms to remain closed until July 20.
  • The Advisory Committee is considering the position in relation to other GAA buildings (such as Club bars that are serving food, Gyms, Handball alleys etc). Guidance will be provided in this context before June 29.

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