Fionnuala Carr

Fionnuala Carr – The GAA has shown great leadership

It is a good test of leadership to see how you respond in times of crisis, when something happens that no one has foreseen or could even comprehend we rely on our leaders to bring us through this time of crisis.

The last few weeks has been a very surreal time for everyone in Ireland, it has shown us just how fragile life can be and for many it has brought us back to our roots; our communities and our homes.

The GAA and the GAA community have played a vital role and it is something that should not be underestimated or discounted.


The leadership is being driven not only by those on the management committee but from every GAA club and community in Ireland, always a proud gael and camog it is times like these that make me proud to be Irish and part of the GAA community.

At a high level and from a very early stage a joint leadership approach from the GAA, the Camogie Association and the LGFA suspended all gaelic games activity across all four codes.

Knowing GAA teams and GAA managers they enforced this by suspending their insurance and stating that no one who partook in any activity would be covered under their insurance scheme.

A swift decision with a serious implication for anyone who didn’t adhere to this showed how the GAA viewed the on coming crisis and they also recognised the role they have as the most influential sports organisation in Ireland.

Seeing the GAA offering up their most iconic ground in Croke Park as a drive through testing centre was incredible to see and this was quickly followed by Pairc Ui Chaoimh and Nowlan Park.

At a club level the amount of community support given to those who need it most, offers to get groceries, medicines, cooked dinners, for all of those who are vulnerable at a time like this shows you the good in people and the community spirit that everyone has.

The influence of Intercounty players doing their daily challenges and uploading them on to social media sends a message to so many people.

Not only are the videos showing high quality skills and challenge people to be better they are also being done in isolation showing that the biggest role models are adhering to the warnings and advice from the HSE about social distancing.

One of the biggest displays of leadership in recent times has been the youth in our population showing their support for the Climate Change action.

We are now relying on our youth to step up again and show leadership and maturity, please please please do not congregate in any groups in order to socialise together.

Keep yourself and keep those around you safe sickness and illness.

You might think that you are invincible but you aren’t and while you may not get sick you can infect people who may get sick.

Keeping distance from each other so we can protect not only the vulnerable but those who are working 24 / 7 in hospitals and care homes around the country.

Keeping ourselves apart means that we can keep people our of hospitals and relieve some pressure on our frontline staff.

Seeing people enjoying the company of their families, enjoying the great outdoors and looking after the vulnerable in society is a throw back to the years without social media.

Perhaps this is also a timely reminder to us all to appreciate what we have and not to take it for granted, to give something back when so many of us our bogged down in our work or our own lives.

How many times I felt sorry for myself having to drive to training or give up my weekends to play matches. It is only when something is taken from you do you realise the importance that it has for us.

In this regard sport will have such an important role for us all when we return to normality in hopefully the not too distant future.

Sport allows us to get distracted for a short while from our troubles and our woes, it has the ability to lift a nation.

A number of the Down Camogie panel are frontline workers in order to support our teammates and help all those on the frontline Down Camogie have set up a challenge for ourselves.

We want to raise money for our frontline workers and local homeless charities during the COVID 19 crisis. As a group we will run a total of 5000km over the next 40 days with each girl contributing their own individual distance.

We appreciate that it is a very trying time for so many people but if you have anything spare to give please do so at the link below.

Wash your hands, stay safe and protect those who need it the most by staying apart.

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