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Tyrone club players would play behind closed doors

A SELECTION of Tyrone club players have been canvassed about their views on playing Gaelic games behind closed doors, and the majority have said that they are happy to do so.
 
A number of players, male and female, participated in an Ulster-wide Gaelic Life survey that appears in the latest edition. It put a number of questions to 100 players regarding sport and the current coronavirus outbreak.
 
The prospect of behind closed doors GAA action remains very much a possibility, although everything remains fluid given the current health crisis.
 
Recently Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced plans to ease Ireland out of lockdown. 
 
Step four of that plan, due to come into place on July 20, could see the GAA club season start in 26 counties with limitations on the number of spectators and a need for social distancing.
 
The Stormont Executive is expected to outline their own plans this week, something that would have an impact on six of Ulster’s nine counties in the north.
 
For club players in Tyrone, they will hope that a similar timeline is announced or else there could be the unusual situation of 26 counties being cleared to train and play by their government with the remaining six working on a different schedule.
 
The main question of the survey asked would players be happy to play behind closed doors.
 
The Ulster wide survey returned 60 percent in favour of it and 40 percent against it.
 
The ‘happy’ figure was even higher in Tyrone with 69 percent of those participating in the study indicating that they would be happy to do so.
 
When broken down into over 25s and under 25s, 73% of over 25s said that they would be happy to play behind closed doors while that figure fell to 50% for under 25s. Broken down by sex, 69% of men said that they were happy to play behind closed doors while 75% of females were also happy to do so.
 
Respondents were also asked whether they would be happy to sacrifice the league if it meant that the club championships could proceed within a tighter timeframe.
 
In Ulster, the answer was a very high 87% and in Tyrone it jumped even further to 91%, showing that those in the Red Hand county would be satisfied if they got to play just championship. 
 
It is understood that if it came to championship only this year, the GAA may ask counties to ensure that teams get at least two games, something that may result in a temporary format change in Tyrone.
 
The final question asked respondents whether or not they believed that they would get to play with their club in 2020.
 
Perhaps fittingly given the confusion currently reigning, 50% of all 100 participants said that they believed they would play with the other 50% thinking the opposite.
 
It was a similar story within Tyrone although ‘no action’ just won out with 54% of players thinking that the season was over for club players while 46% were more optimistic. Male participants were particularly pessimistic with 66% answering in the negative.
 
• The full survey and further breakdown is available at www.gaeliclife.com
 
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