THESE are busy times for Ross Cashman. In ordinary circumstances, he’d probably have enough on his plate, working for James Deasy & Co. accountants in Clonakilty and gearing up for the championship with Kilbrittain, but on top of that he is the club’s Covid-19 officer.
With teams back in action – and a few clubs in West Cork already experiencing what it’s like to be forced out of it again – ensuring that guidelines are followed is an important task and the buck stops with Cashman and those in other clubs who have assumed the newly created roles
There’s a lot to take on, on top of his normal duties as a player.
‘Basically, anyone coming into the grounds, and into the pitch especially, has to have their e-learning module done,’ Cashman says.
‘That’s the first thing and then everyone has to do the GAA health questionnaire as well. Every night before training or a meeting or anything at all, people entering the grounds have to re-confirm that their health is okay.
‘When we train, I have my list of players, coaches, officers and anyone up at the pitch and I have to make sure that they’ve re-confirmed everything. If they haven’t checked in properly, they can’t take part.
‘The underage club has a supervisor for each age-group, minor all the way down to U6 and U8. It’s the same thing, the supervisor is responsible for each group and, before every game and match, they make sure that every player and parent, whoever is involved, has followed the protocols.
‘That’s the main focus of the role, then you’re making sure that all of the sanitiser and everything is up to date, that coaches are sanitising all the gear, sliothars and footballs and so on.’
Bar a short adaptation period, Cashman feels that everyone has settled well into the new way of operating.
‘For the first session or two, it was a case of making sure that people had everything done,’ he says, ‘but, after that, everyone followed the rules automatically, coming in and out of the pitch at the correct entrance and exit, sanitised going in and out, spraying down any gear.
‘I do check the questionnaire before every training but, in fairness, it’s just a quick run-through now because everyone has it done. When opposition teams come, they have their own entrance to the pitch and their own sanistiser, to ensure that the contact is minimal.’
And, as seen locally last weekend, there’s always the risk of a shutdown based on potential cases. Having played Argideen Rangers a fortnight ago, Kilbrittain had to curtail their activity when news broke that the Timoleague club may have had susceptible members.
‘We had to take precautions because of that and it is so important to be vigilant,’ Cashman says.
‘You just keep telling the lads that it is serious when they press that button to re-confirm their health and make sure that they’re not bringing anything to training.
‘Players were told at the outset that if they didn’t have that done, they couldn’t train. You’re minding the whole club – players might have elderly parents at home or family members who could be vulnerable.
‘It’s just about being mindful or everyone and all of the club members have been good. They understand the gravity of the situation.’
Among Covid officers, Cashman is probably in the minority in that he is still an active player, one of Kilbrittain’s key men as they target the lower intermediate hurling title, beginning with a local derby clash against Barryroe next weekend.
He’s not alone among Kilbrittain players in serving, though – James Hurley is PRO, Paudie Brennan is assistant secretary and Nick O’Donovan is cultural office.
‘It’s good in one sense but then it’s bad in another way that you have to dive into the players’ pool,’ Cashman says.
‘We have to hold committee meetings during the week after training – you’re training for an hour and a half and then you’ve another hour and a half of a meeting. It’s not very convenient, obviously, and it might put some people off it but it’s just what we have to do.’
Ideally, his job title wouldn’t be needed for too much longer and he could revert to being an ‘ordinary’ committee member.
‘Hopefully, but it’s likely to be in place for the rest of the summer,’ he says.
‘With championship games coming up, there’ll be a few extra things. You learn on the job and try to do the right thing and the thing which has the most common sense.
‘It’s just about minding people, really.’