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Louth captain criticises testing procedures and slams former players for 'driving' GAA to play games

Bevan Duffy says it’s unfair to put amateur athletes under pressure to play matches.

Louth captain Bevan Duffy [file photo].
Louth captain Bevan Duffy [file photo].
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Updated Oct 19th 2020, 5:03 PM

Updated at 18.17

LOUTH FOOTBALL CAPTAIN Bevan Duffy has slammed the decision to proceed with inter-county games under the current Covid-19 circumstances in Ireland.

Duffy says it’s wrong to “put this sort of burden on amateur lads” and has accused former GAA players of using their platform in the media to encourage this decision.

He also feels the testing procedures are insufficient in ensuring the health and safety of players.

Ireland is currently at Level 3 restrictions, while border counties Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan have been placed on Level 4. The Government is expected to announce tighter regulations later today due to a rising number of cases across the country.

Louth travelled to Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday where they suffered a heavy defeat to Cork. It was the Wee County’s sixth straight loss of the campaign which confirms their relegation to Division 4.

When asked if he was happy with making the trip to fulfil that fixture, Duffy told LMFM:

“No, not particularly. I don’t understand, with the case numbers going up, the way things are all around the country, how GAA inter-county footballers are all of a sudden immune to this,” he said.

“We’ve teachers in that dressing room. We’ve lads living at home, a lot of lads living at home with their elderly parents.

“It doesn’t really make that much sense.”

A rapid Covid-19 testing programme has recently been rolled out, and is available for inter-county teams to utilise if they feel it is necessary. This allows for tests to be performed and results returned with 48 hours.

Duffy, speaking from his own experience, says that there has been a lack of testing carried out so fa

There hasn’t been any testing at all, which I can’t get my head around.

“Surely before the start of the National League campaign every inter-county squad should have been tested. Simple as.

“That would take a lot of pressure off and put your mind at ease a bit, but you don’t know.

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“What if someone tests positive on either of these squads today next Tuesday?

“And there are lads after playing a match here in Páirc Uí Chaoimh and then gone back to their homes and back all over Cork and all over Louth.

“The lack of testing, the zero testing, I just can’t understand it.”

The Louth defender continued by criticising former GAA players for how they have reacted to games being played.

A lot of former players seem to be driving it, but they’re lads who are writing articles and have their TV gigs.”

“The protocols need to be better, without a doubt.

“The GPA have been very proactive on the whole thing throughout the summer, in fairness. Hopefully something will come of that.

It’s not right to put this sort of burden on amateur lads. We’re not professional rugby players or professional soccer players who can go into these bubbles if need be or getting paid to do this. We’re amateurs, we’ve day-to-day jobs.

“We’re spending Monday to Friday mingling with everyone in shops just like everyone else. We’re not in a bubble so they really need to sort that out.”

Duffy concluded:

“If there’s a positive test, I’m gone [for] two weeks and I can’t really afford it. It’s a tough enough year as it is.

“My views are my views but the majority of the team wants to be playing these matches and I’m 100% in support of that. Once that decision is made, my focus is on Louth as usual.”

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