Dublin football players train collectively outside permitted window

Members of the Dublin senior football team were photographed training together at Innisfails GAA club early on Wednesday morning.

A report in the Irish Independent revealed nine players from the All-Ireland champions’ panel were in attendance.

The gathering took place contrary to government Covid-19 protocols and outside of the GAA’s permitted training window for intercounty teams.

In recent months, the GAA handed out sanctions after the Cork and Down footballers held gatherings in January. Rebels manager Ronan McCarthy was suspended for 12 weeks, while Mourne boss Paddy Tally was hit with an eight-week ban.

On Tuesday evening following the latest Irish government announcement which stated intercounty Gaelic games could return from April 19, the GAA top brass appealed to its members not to congregate.

“It is more important than ever that no collective training sessions are held between now and the Government indicated return dates,” wrote the association’s director general Tom Ryan and president Larry McCarthy.

“Breaches in this context will not only be dealt with under our own rules but would likely put the broader plan to return to activity in serious jeopardy.”

GAA expresses ‘frustration and extreme disappointment’

Croke Park released a statement on Thursday morning, after the reports emerged.

“It is with frustration and extreme disappointment that the GAA acknowledges reports today of a potential breach of both our own Covid guidelines and those of the Government relating to the restrictions in place around team training,” read a statement.

“Less than 48 hours ago, the association reiterated its commitment to these current guidelines and called for continued compliance in the weeks ahead.

“The GAA will pursue the allegations with the units in question at the earliest opportunity and will invoke any necessary disciplinary processes as appropriate.

“In the meantime, while we acknowledge that the overwhelming majority of counties and clubs have complied in an appropriate and responsible way with the restrictions currently in place, we once again call on our members and units to uphold the integrity of the Association as part of our ongoing efforts to play our role in thwarting the virus and ensuring a return to activity when it is safe to do so.”

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