GAA

Croke Park issue an open letter to fans ahead of All-Ireland final weekends

President John Horan and Director General Tom Ryan appeal for fans to enjoy the finals safely

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The promised land: Croke Park is expected to swell with more than 60,000 fans this Sunday. Picture: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

The GAA have issued an open letter to its members ahead of the All-Ireland finals being played over the next two weekends.

The letter, signed by President John Horan and Director General Tom Ryan reads as follows:

The next few weeks will generate great excitement across the island and in seven counties in particular as we look forward to All-Ireland hurling (Liam MacCarthy and Joe McDonagh Cups) and football finals (Sam Maguire and U20) we weren’t sure we would see in 2020.

It has been an achievement involving so many people to get the championships played to this juncture and our aim is to try and finish out the competitions to the highest and safest standards possible.

Our players and those who prepare them deserve the highest level of commendation for their respective roles in helping us to stage the games and all of the training involved in advance.

Similarly, our board officials have worked tirelessly with the county teams to ensure that every measure needed was taken and adhered to allow us to keep our players safe, fit, and healthy.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh to them all for everything they have done to help shorten our winter. As a national sporting body we have a responsibility to not only our players and members, but to wider society too.

To that end, we are encouraging everyone to embrace and enjoy the three All-Ireland finals in the coming weeks in a safe and sensible manner.

It is extremely unfortunate that we can’t facilitate supporters at our games but that is a by-product of the pandemic we have been living through.

While we can take pre-cautionary measures at our venues, before, during and immediately after our fixtures in attempt to look after those directly involved, we can’t control what happens away from the field of play in the aftermath of games.

We learnt lessons after a number of clubs finals that prompted us to move to shut down our remaining club fixtures.

We are calling on all of those who support our games and teams to follow the health guidelines, practice social distancing and to exercise caution at all times while watching and indeed after the games.

We fully appreciate this is not the norm. In fact it goes against so much of what our games mean to people.

However, it would be a travesty if the huge positive that have been our games would turn out to be a negative in the run up to Christmas because we abandoned our collective responsibility to play our part.

Help the GAA to fulfil its role by playing your part and think for a minute about how you can watch and enjoy the games with both your safety and that of others in mind over the course of what should be a memorable fortnight of games.

Thanking you in advance for your ongoing support and co-operation and wish you every best wish for the festive season.