"If the GAA can't organise these small crowds in big stands, it's not a great look for them"
A broken clock...
Arlene Foster's condemnation of the lack of the crowd behaviour at the Tyrone county final wasn't without reason.
Over the weekend, pictures from a number of games were being shared of dozens - and sometimes hundreds - of fans sitting in uncomfortably close proximity watching football and hurling as if we were back in the good, old days.
In Omagh, as Dungannon clinched their first senior crown in 64 years, it was magnified because of the worrying spike in cases in the north and because of the manic celebrations that followed with fans invading the pitch and players and supporters jumping all over each other.
Deeply concerned about the images from yesterday’s GAA match. Significant milestone for Dgn but Covid-19 is no respecter of victories. Other events being responsible. Sport & health will be the losers. @UlsterGAA need to address this. Serious questions arising from videos.
— Arlene Foster #We’llMeetAgain (@DUPleader) September 21, 2020
You can understand how the situation escalated.
After extra time, after two rounds of penalties and after the underdogs came from behind again to win what has been one of the most memorable championship wins - and to do so for a first time since 1954 - it was always going to be hard to curb the celebrations.
It's felt though that everyone could've done more throughout these games - especially with something as basic as keeping a distance whilst sitting down to watch the game.
Two things at play here;
1. The GAA have a responsibility to ensure physical distancing measures are in place.
2. People have a personal responsibility to look around, realise they're not acting safely, and do something about it.
If we want crowds, we have to do it safely. https://t.co/Ce5ml3XTWc
— Rob O'Hanrahan (@RobOHanrahan) September 20, 2020
On The GAA Hour, Colm Parkinson and Conán Doherty discussed the issue.
"A pitch invasion is not ideal. Look, it's hard to excuse," Wooly said.
"It's not the ideal situation but, Jesus Christ, 64 years. Extra time in every game. 10 bloody penalties. Give them a break!"
However, Doherty made the point that if the GAA really want their views heard on getting crowds into games - especially big crowds at inter-county level - then they should really be doing a better job at managing such small gatherings.
"I think it's hard for the GAA to address the pitch invasion and the celebrations because that would've happened anyway no matter what restrictions they put in place.
"But I do, sort of, agree with Arlene Foster, for once in my life. It's not great," Doherty said.
"The GAA have been vociferous in asking all these questions and they've obviously been unhappy at how things have been done. And it seems that they're a bit unhappy at the lack of trust put in them considering all the work that they've done and the capacity they have to manage these events.
"But, we saw it in the hurling as well, the. crowds are just sitting on top of each other and, if the GAA can't organise that in big stands, then it's just not a great look for them.
"That was so easy to manage that and space them out and I know it's up to county boards but the GAA need to manage it from the top and make sure that we're not seeing a scene where everybody is basically sitting on the same seat!"
Listen to the full show here.