Updates since County Convention The new Cathaoirleach, Micheál Martin, advised that in addition to those roles filled at Convention the following positions will be proposed. The role of Development Officer will be filled by the appointment of David Tobin and that of Children’s Officer will be filled by Des Croke, John Kenny will be appointed as Coiste na nÓg Cathaoirleach and Aideen Howlin (Duffry Rovers) is to be appointed as Rúnaí to Coiste na nÓg. Tony Dempsey will take the role of management nominee for one more year. Marguerite Furlong has finished as Coiste na nÓg Cathaoirleach and her outstanding work over the past few years was complimented.
The Rúnaí, Gearóid Devitt, has informed the Cathaoirleach that he will step away from the role with effect from 7 January and his excellent work over the past two years was recognised by all. He has shown a huge commitment to Wexford GAA and brought a new perspective to this committee. The role of fulltime Rúnaí is a very busy one and it is hoped to commence a recruitment process for a replacement very soon with a view to making an appointment by March.
While current public health restrictions make it difficult to arrange a public event to mark Gearóid’s departure it is hoped that the minor hurling fixture in Chadwicks Wexford Park on Sunday 20 December will allow for a safe and compliant public recognition of his sterling service.
Gearóid explained that stepping down was a difficult decision but one he had to take in the context of the all-consuming nature of the job and the challenge of managing the travel burden from his home in Bray. He is very grateful to the committee for the opportunity and is available to help Wexford GAA in any way he can in years ahead.
Strategic Plan Following on from the public consultation survey of last year, the Wexford GAA Strategic Plan 2021-2025 is nearing completion and the latest draft was circulated to the management committee last week. The core emphasis of the plan will be player development, while significant funding will be required for infrastructure projects. Key items of interest include the review mechanism for the plan, the particular focus on volunteers, and also how best to support clubs’ administrations via training etc. It is intended to launch the Plan in January 2021 so management committee members were asked to revert with any final comments as soon as possible.
Committees It was agreed that, for the next meeting on 5 January, committee members would revert with details of potential new volunteers who could assist with the range of committees reporting in. Each committee will include a member of management to ensure a strong delivery focus and clear reporting line back to the management committee. Regular infusions of new volunteers and committee members is important to ensure that innovation and resilience levels are maintained.
It was noted that new Leas-Chathaoirleach, Bobby Goff, will be the CCC Chairman in 2021. The full list of committees will be issued at the first county committee meeting.
Updates from central meetings At the most recent Ard Chomhairle meeting on 28 November a presentation on Féile 2021 confirmed that the event will be run now as an Under 15 competition. It is scheduled for June-July and will be run on a regional basis over two weekends with no overnight stays.
It was noted that emergency powers for Coistí Bainistíochta to facilitate ongoing management of the association during Covid-19 have been extended to 25/29 January respectively for County / Central levels. A Players’ Injury Fund credit allowance for clubs, as recognition of the impact of Covid-19 on budgets across the board, has been agreed and the deadline for finalising the submission of team details to the scheme has been extended by three months. From 1 January, loss of wages will not be payable under the Fund for a period of time as it is in significant deficit due mostly to the negative financial impact of Covid-19 on GAA finances.
Ard Chomhairle will vote on the 2021 playing calendar on Friday 18 December. It seems likely that intercountry competitions will commence first, from the end of February as this received overwhelming support at a recent meeting of county chairpersons. Intercounty training will be allowed again from mid-January and it is likely that Leagues will start on 27 February with All Ireland Finals in early July.
Counties have been advised that they will have to carry a much greater burden of costs in 2021.In this context, it is important to highlight that while Wexford GAA is on a sound financial footing the development and infrastructure commitments set out in the draft Strategic Plan dwarf the funds currently set aside. Accordingly, very careful financial management is imperative in the coming year if we are to fully deliver on key plans.
Wexford club calendar 2021 Based on the proposed inter county plan, Wexford GAA All County Leagues could start in early April and conclude by mid-June with championships starting in July. However, these are only indicative suggestions so a group will be established in January to look at the specifics of the 2021 Wexford club calendar. It is likely that clubs will be surveyed for views as there are a number of key decision points including whether to repeat the hurling/football split season model that was implemented in 2020.
It is essential, until Government and GAA guidance permit a return to adult training, that all clubs take every step necessary to ensure full compliance with the current restrictions. Public health guidance must be adhered to and, in this current phase, only school age children are allowed to have non-contact training in groups of no more than 15 people. No adult team organised training or other activities, whether indoor or outdoors, can take place at this time. Recent increases in Covid-19 incidence rates in Wexford emphasise the importance of every sector in society playing its part to prevent the spread of the disease.
In terms of the remaining 2020 competitions that have yet to be completed, it would be hoped to recommence them within 3-4 weeks of Government approval for organised club matches (Level 2 under the national plan). This might not be likely until April.
It was noted that, in the context of minor competitions remaining at Under 17 level, proposals for an Under 19 championship will be considered early in 2021 as it is recognised that such
a competition could play a key role in maintaining secondary school students’ participation in our games.
Correspondence The St. Joseph’s motion to Convention was referred to the Rules Advisory Committee in Croke Park for advice. The club has also submitted a request for county board approval for the erection of a telecoms mast at its pitch. This has been considered and will be formally tabled at the next County Board for its approval.
Some correspondence has been received from Croke Park season ticketholders asking whether a similar renewal discount as available to Wexford GAA ticketholders will be available to them. It has been explained to them that they got a refund earlier in the year directly from Croke Park so the question of a discount does not arise. Nearly 400 Wexford GAA season cards have been sold to date with approximately two-thirds being renewals at the discounted price of €90. Numbers are capped at 40 per club and cardholders will be prioritised for access to club matches when current attendance restrictions are eased.
Other business Best wishes are extended to our Under 20 hurlers who play Dublin in Carlow on Friday 18 December and to our minor hurlers who will play Kilkenny in Chadwicks Wexford Park on Sunday 20 December. Both matches will be livestreamed on the TG4 YouTube channel.
It was noted that several clubs have received approval for Leader funding for initiatives such as walking tracks; it is essential that Insurance Section in Croke Park is told in advance before any such works commence.
The 2020 Yearbook is an excellent publication and Ronan Fagan was commended on all his work on it. Clubs will be asked to collect their allocation of 10 copies by Friday 18 December.
Reminder re Covid Restrictions
Advice to Clubs and Counties – for activities post Dec 1st
CLUB SPECIFIC GUIDELINES
- Club Games
- Under the new Level 3 Restrictions announced by Government and which take effect from December 1st, Club games are not permitted – only approved inter-county games can take place.
- Club Training
- No training of any kind is permitted at club level in the Six Counties, either outdoors or indoors until midnight on Thursday December 10th 2020 at the earliest. Further advice will issue from Ulster GAA once it is available
- All clubs and players are reminded that Health Questionnaires and all other relevant control measures must continue to be followed.
- In level 3, underage and adult training can take place, but must be on a non-contact basis in pods of up to 15.
- Use of Indoor Team Facilities
- Further advice on protective measures for gyms is included as an Appendix to this document. The GAA will continue to monitor the situation with regard to club gyms and if our Covid Advisory Group are not happy that the advice for use of gyms is being properly adhered to, it may lead to their closure again.
- Club Gyms in the 26 Counties may be opened for use by individuals only, with protective measures in place. Players/Teams must not train in groups.
- Dressing rooms, showers and all other indoor training facilities should remain closed for club activities.
- Committee Meetings
No indoor meetings can be held.
- Officer Training
All officer Training must be delivered online. Outdoor coaching education courses may be held but are subject to a 15-person maximum.
- Club Bars
Club Bars that do not serve food must remain closed until further notice
From Friday 4 December, Club bars that are operating as restaurants (i.e. serving a substantial meal) can open for indoor dining with additional restrictions, including a requirement for meals to be prepared on site, inside the premises, and with a maximum of 6 people per table.
Club bars must follow all the relevant protocols for the sector.
All Club bars in the six counties must remain closed or in the case of those offering restaurant services continue offering take away food only until midnight of Thursday 10th December 2020, at the earliest. Further advice will issue from Ulster GAA when it is available.
- Indoor Events on GAA Property
Commercial use of indoor halls continues to be permitted where agreement was in place prior to March and relevant insurance are in place. Use by State bodies e.g. HSE/Schools is also permitted.
These are the only instances in which indoor activity is permitted on GAA Club property.
- Outdoor Events on GAA Property
Gatherings of up to 15 people only are permitted. As such, fundraisers such as fittest family, Couch to 5k etc should not be organised.
Drive in events may be held subject to clubs requesting extension of insurance cover from Marsh Ireland or GAA Insurance section; however patrons must remain in their vehicle for the entire duration of the event with no access to club facilities including toilets. Cars attending such events should only contain people from their own pod.
Other events such as Poc Fada or Road bowling should only be organised if they can be limited to 15 people and face coverings must be worn.
ADVICE FOR 2ND LEVEL SCHOOLS AND 3RD LEVEL INSTITUTIONS
- Games and Training
Neither competitive nor challenge games are permitted in 2nd Level schools.
Training is permitted on a non-contact basis in pods of no more than 15 people
Games are not permitted to take place at 3rd level under the latest Government restrictions – in addition, as it is recommended that Higher Education should remain primarily on line, no training sessions are permitted in 3rd level institutions in either jurisdiction until further notice.
INTER COUNTY SPECIFIC GUIDELINES
- Training and Games at Senior, Minor and U20
- In the interim, no collective training is permitted for 2021 inter county competitions.
- The fixtures programme, as well as dates on which a Return to Collective Training will be permitted will be available in the near future.
- 2021 Inter County Competitions The GAA is currently finalising its fixture programme for 2021. Each grade will have an appropriate pre-season identified for it to allow for adequate preparation for 2021 competitions.
- Collective Training is NOT PERMITTED for any other inter county teams currently.
- The teams still involved in the 2020 All Ireland Senior Championships are permitted to continue training as normal.
- In the interim, Teams still involved in the 2020 Minor Hurling and Football and 2020 U20 Hurling and Football Championships are permitted to resume training from December 1st on a non-contact basis in pods of no more than 15 people.
- The GAA are awaiting clarity from Government as to whether U20 and Minor games can take place. We will provide this to Counties as soon as it is available.
- Use of Indoor Team Facilities for Inter County Teams (2020 Championships)
- Adult Club players living in a County classified as Level 3 may travel to their Home Counties to participate in Training.
- Counties should ensure that where multiple teams are using the same venue for training (e.g. a Centre of Excellence) that only one team is on site at a given time.
- As senior Inter county activity has been classified as an exemption to the normal restrictive provisions by the Government, use of indoor facilities for Inter County Teams only is permitted and should be carried out in accordance with the Return to Training and Play for Inter County Teams advice document issued in September.
- Attendances at Inter County Games
In Level 3, all inter county games must be played behind closed doors.
Arrangements for the remaining games in the 2020 Championships in terms of access for additional panel members and backroom teams will be communicated directly to the Counties involved once clarity is received from Government in terms of what is specifically proposed (numbers allowed etc.)
For Minor intercounty games or training sessions staged behind closed doors and because they involve players aged 17 and under:
- One designated individual (parent/guardian) per player may attend a training session or game per child/family/group of children.
- The GAA Health Questionnaires MUST be completed by parents/guardians in advance of attendance.
- Parents are NOT permitted to be in attendance at U20 games where their child (U18) is participating. However, provision can be made to allow an adult to be in close proximity (e.g. in the car park etc) in case medical or other emergency needs require their presence.
Appendix – Advice for Use of GAA Club Gyms
The following advice – taken from the Ireland Active Framework for Safe Operation should be followed when opening Gym facilities:
- Social distancing of 2m should always be maintained
- Participants should not congregate before or after activities, and facilities should design internal flows to reflect this.
- Facilities should plan for a maximum of 1 person/4 square metres* (2mx2m) and in accordance with government advice on maximum capacities for indoor activities.
- Ensure adequate ventilation, avoiding recycling of air to avoid possibility of infection, in accordance with HSE/HSA guidance
- Carry out frequent cleaning of surfaces and wipe downs of contact surfaces with single use disinfectant wipes or strong disinfectants and microfibre cloths.
- Users should not share towels, water bottles etc.
- All of the standard infection control guidance from the HSE should be heeded.
- There should be no hands-on adjustments or physical contact during training.
- Spacing of exercise machines/equipment should be undertaken to ensure 2m distance between equipment. An alternative may be to use every second piece of equipment or the closing of certain stationary equipment to ensure 2m distancing.
- Equipment which is 2m apart should not be placed where exercisers are facing each other.
- Spin bikes should be staggered and spaced 2m apart to avoid spray back.
- Loose equipment such as dumbbells, kettlebells, free weights etc. should be used by one exerciser and cleaned in between each use by users/staff.
- Booking of time slots should be employed in order to enable safe management and recording of users in the facility.
- Where spotting of weights is being undertaken, face coverings should be worn
All areas, within the gym, where social distancing is particularly challenging should be kept closed – Players should not enter the gym facility prior to their assigned reservation
Adequate signage and reminders should be provided at entrances and in strategic places within the gym providing instruction on social distancing, hand hygiene, use of cloth face coverings or masks, and cough and sneeze etiquette.