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Government relax rules to allow full GAA panels attend games

Inter-county teams could only name panels of 26 players to now, which drew criticism from a number of inter-county managers.

The Galway players inspect Croke Park ahead of yesterday's game.
The Galway players inspect Croke Park ahead of yesterday's game.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

THE GOVERNMENT WILL allow full county panels attend the remaining games in the All-Ireland championships as the nation returns to Level Three of the Covid-response plan. 

Up to now, matchday panels have been restricted to no more than 26 players and 12 backroom team members. 

Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers today confirmed the government are relaxing these rules. “Glad to confirm that full panels will be permitted to attend on match days when Ireland moves to Level 3 from tomorrow”, tweeted Deputy Chambers. 

The restrictions on numbers drew criticism from a range of inter-county managers in recent weeks, with Limerick hurling manager John Kiely the first to speak out against it. 

“We’ve 10 players at home, which in my view is completely and utterly unacceptable, given that I’ve 20 reporters standing in front of me and I’ve 10 of my panel at home. I’m quite offended by that situation we’ve been put in”, said Kiely, appealing to the government to relax the restrictions. 

Kiely’s call has since been echoed by Waterford hurling boss, Liam Cahill along with James Horan and Mick Bohan, managers of the Mayo mens and Dublin ladies footballers respectively. 

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Along with keeping fringe players out of the stadium on matchday, regular starters who picked up injury were also precluded from going to games. 

Limerick defender Mike Casey (cruciate) has been unable to go to any championship game this year, for instance, while Shane Fives (Waterford) and David Dempsey (Limerick) watched their sides’ All-Ireland semi-final win from home having been injured in the Munster final. 

Additional reporting by Fintan O’Toole

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Gavin Cooney

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