WHILE Jamie Wall is disappointed that the GAA’s intervarsity competitions may not be played this year, he understands why such a decision has been taken.
On Wednesday, Higher Education GAA made the announcement that there would be no third-level competitions during the current academic year.
Kilbrittain man Wall is in charge of the Mary Immaculate College hurling team and led the Limerick institution to the 2017 Fitzgibbon Cup title as well as a final appearance against UCC in 2019. A third-year law and accounting student in UL, he is currently on work placement with legal firm Ronan Daly Jermyn in Cork and accepts that there are bigger issues in the world than the Fitz or Sigerson Cups.
‘Obviously, it’s very disappointing but it’s not surprising,’ he said.
‘Realistically, with numbers the way they are, you couldn’t stand over bringing guys from all over the country into one camp and then sending them back out around the country. Of all the competitions in the GAA, it’s unfortunately the least suited to surviving in the current climate. I have no complaints – we all have to make sacrifices and this is no different. Right now, the numbers are so high that it’s not safe to run any competitions. Sport in general is, rightly, down the pecking order.
‘While they are important competitions going forward, what’s more important right now is people’s health. Please God, we’ll be back in October either with league or some other creative solution.
‘We’ll keep the fingers crossed and keep the good side out and hope that things are back closer to normal in the next academic year.’
As well as Mary I, Wall is in charge of the Kilbrittain intermediate hurling team. Last year, they reached the semi-finals of the county lower intermediate championship but, right now – with club action slated for late summer, after the inter-county season – things are quiet.
‘From any sort of club perspective, the most important thing at the moment is the lads’, and their families’, health,’ he says. ‘In Kilbrittain and a lot of parishes, there have been outbreaks and, no more than anyone else, our panel has beenaffected to varying degrees.
‘The most important thing is that they’re healthy. We don’t know enough about the virus in terms of how it affects people. We’ve seen Premier League players take time to get back up to speed so when you have amateur players, it’s something you have to be wary of.
‘We’re obviously not doing anything collectively but we have a very good strength and conditioning coach, Mikey Kearney, who has given the lads workouts they can do at home with the minimum of equipment and runs around the locality.
‘While we’re all limiting our contacts, it’s important to bear in mind that we need exercise for the physical and mental benefits. It has to be done smartly and individually for the time being, but it is important.
‘We’re in contact with the lads but it’s not as rigorous as any sort of proper training regime. Our job at the moment is providing a framework for the lads to stay fit and healthy. If you spend eight, nine or ten months talking to the lads about winning a first-round game, it wears thin very quickly!’