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'We probably could put 21,000 into Croke Park safely' - GAA plan for crowds with two-metre rule

GAA President John Horan on how they could accommodate fans while social distancing exists.

THE GAA FEEL they can accommodate a crowd of 21,000 in Croke Park under the current two-metre rule in place for social distancing and temporary seating in Hill 16 may be an option that they pursue.

dublins-captain-goalkeeper-stephen-cluxton-and-kerry-captain-paul-murphy-lead-their-team-at-the-parade Players and fans at last year's All-Ireland senior football final

While social distancing remains in place, facilitating crowds is an issue facing the association but they have started looking into how they would adapt in holding games if the limit on mass gatherings is lifted by the Government.

On Friday the GAA revealed their roadmap for a return to playing action with inter-county games scheduled to start no earlier than 17 October.

GAA President John Horan was speaking last night in an interview with his club Na Fianna and outlined the challenge they face with Hill 16 where spectators standing will not be permitted. He reiterated that Croke Park will not be full to capacity again until social distancing is lifted.

“We have already worked it out that if large crowds are to gather over 5,000 we could probably put 21,000 into Croke Park safely.

“The operations team in Croke Park have mapped it out. Obviously, that blue mesh that’s used in Croke Park would be used to block off seats. It would cause impracticalities in terms of there would be an element of lottery for tickets and premium ticket holders would probably have to get accredited the following year.

“Until social distancing is scaled back, we just won’t be able to pack Croke Park. It is our intention to get it open and going when we get the inter-county games going and if it goes back to one metre we would be able to double the attendance probably to 42,000.

“There’s an issue over the Hill and whether we would be able to get seating in there because really controlling crowds is always going to be a nightmare going forward.”

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Separately in the same interview, Horan spoke about the twin issues of fixtures and development squads which he had focused on since becoming GAA President. He described the provincial championsips as a ‘monster’ with the Munster hurling and Ulster football formats difficult to tamper with.

john-horan GAA President John Horan Source: Tom O'Hanlon/INPHO

“I think the fixtures review group have done great work on that. Unfortunately, we were meant to be out around the country on a roadshow at the moment and bringing that to a Special Congress in September.

“But the actual work is there, it’s done. The proposals are there. One of the big challenges is really to tackle that monster that is the traditional feature of the GAA that is the provincial championships. Ulster and Munster you’d find it very hard to move in terms of the Munster hurling championship and the Ulster football championship.

“But getting that work done and getting that document produced it out unfortunately we may not finish it out before my time comes to an end but it will be there and hopefully Larry (McCarthy) will push it on.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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