Dublin footballers facing Croke Park sanction after Covid-19 lockdown breach

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Members of the six-in-a-row winners were reported to have gathered for a training session.

FORMER GAA PRESIDENT Seán Kelly has called for Croke Park to issue a “formal sanction” after a number of Dublin footballers were reported to have breached Covid-19 restrictions.

The Irish Independent published photos of players from the All-Ireland six-in-a-row winners at an early-morning training session yesterday morning. At least nine players are reported to have participated in the session at Innisfails GAA club in Balgriffin.

The news comes just days after it was announced that collective senior inter-county training is permitted to resume from 19 April with a regionalised National League expected to start in May.

A letter was also issued to club and county secretaries, warning them that counties who resume training early will be punished and potentially put the return to play “in serious jeopardy”.

“If it is true it is surprising and very disappointing – especially coming from the six in a row Dubs,” Kelly said on Newstalk Breakfast this morning. “There is a responsibility with that accolade to give good example.

“Every club and every county in the country are probably frustrated they can’t get back out on the field but there is a roadmap there; the GAA have outlined the guidelines and everyone will have to stick by them.

“I think the GAA will certainly have to look at it very strongly and you have to be consistent in the way you apply the rules.

“They apply to everybody, whether you are All-Ireland champions or just at the bottom of the ladder.

“This is a serious situation and hopefully it was a once-off breach that won’t happen again because if it goes without some form of formal sanction then others will say why can’t we do the same?

“So, it has created a very difficult dilemma for the GAA.”

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Earlier this year, suspensions were handed out to Down and Cork GAA over training breaches in relation to Covid-19. Down football manager Paddy Tally was suspended for eight weeks over a gathering, while Cork football boss Ronan McCarthy was hit with a 12-week ban following a team-building session in Youghal.

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