There will be no homecoming events for hurling, football or camogie this month, regardless of safety measures out in place.
With the All-Ireland senior hurling, camogie and football finals taking place over the next fortnight, celebrations for the winning sides will be kept to a minimum.
Kilkenny have a great record of homecoming events over the years, the hurling and camogie nights typically attracting thousands of fans – win or lose – to Nowlan Park or the steps of the Court House.
This year, with Brian Dowling’s side contesting a fifth straight senior camogie final, celebrations or commiserations will be muted.
It’s a case of safety first, as outlined by GAA president John Horan on Friday’s Late Late Show.
“It has to be different, because the country is still in a pandemic”, said Horan when asked about post-final celebrations.
“There will be no homecomings for the winning teams and the county boards are aware of that, the players are aware of that, and they’ve bought into it.”
“I think it would tarnish anyone winning an All-Ireland if an outbreak came in a particular area, and we should learn from England where Liverpool and Leeds had success, big crowds gathered in squares and it just wasn’t acceptable.”
Further to the restrictions on homecoming gatherings, it was also announced that winning teams would be leaving their silverware behind them – for the time being at least.
That means Liam MacCarthy, Sam Maguire and Seán O’Duffy will all hanging out in Dublin for the year.
“The cups will not be leaving Croke Park, they will be retained in Croke Park”, added Horan.
“It’s our concern that the cups would be a focus of crowds gathering and extra social activity going on around the cups so we feel we have to be responsible about this.”
“The cups will get down, the clubs will get to see them and the schools will get to see them in time.”
“We just feel the way the country is and the way the pandemic is resting at the moment in the country that it would be better that we would retain them (the cups).”
The full panel will be there, officers not so
It has been been confirmed previously that for the remaining final championship games in camogie, hurling and football, all panel members will be able to attend the fixture to support their teammates, not just those of the match day squad.
The same, however, cannot be said of county officers.
As KCLR Fanzone understands, only the chairperson, PRO and secretary for each county will be allowed entry to the game. In Kilkenny’s case when they face Galway, this will mean seven of the ten county officers remaining at home.
Calls had been made too to allow two people from a player’s family to watch the game though the GAA have said they are not challenging existing guidelines that restrict spectators regardless of venue size and are very much going to “play ball” when it comes to public health directives.
Cup or not, winning is what matters
For players, bringing home the actual silverware doesn’t matter as much as having your name in the history books come the final whistle.
“It’s just about looking at the game at hand and winning it”, says Kilkenny senior camogie’s Collette Dormer, speaking to KCLR at the county’s media day on Saturday.
“In fairness to them (the GAA), they’re right in what they’re saying. At the end of the day, what’s going to be remembered is who are the 2020 All-Ireland champions. Whether you have a cup beside you or not, it’s who are the winners (that matters).”
Kilkenny will face Galway in the ultimate decider for senior camogie this Saturday night with the game live on-air and online at KCLR from 7 pm.