It really does feel as if today marks a step-change in how this country is reacting to the ever-spreading coronavirus.
Following the Taoiseach’s announcement this morning in Washington of a range of measures aimed at protecting public health, including a ban on mass gatherings, it was inevitable that a shutdown of sporting events would follow. The GAA’s decision, made in the wake of the Government’s move, was the only sensible one it could have taken but it’s still welcome that they did so without delay.
Some have said the GAA should have moved earlier. I’m not so sure that’s the case. This is a global emergency and in responding at a national level leadership had to come from the top.
The Government gave that leadership this morning and, in its wake, all manner of decisions about work, education and sporting activities over the next while have been taken. That’s the right order in which these decisions needed to have been made.
The suspension obviously has major ramifications for the GAA calendar in 2020. It’s not clear how – or if at all – the National Leagues will be concluded this year and it’s equally unclear what today’s move will mean for this summer’s Championship.
But these considerations are minor ones in the overall scheme of things. None of us have lived through a time as uncertain as this, none of us can say with any confidence what the coming weeks and months might hold. Seen in this light, what happens out on the playing fields has to take its proper place in the order of priorities.
All any of us can do at this stage is to follow the medical advice and take all the precautions we’ve been advised to take. The football will be back in its own good time when, hopefully, all of this is behind us.
In the meantime, take care and keep washing those hands.