Spare Dublin the virtue-signalling outrage, but wider GAA community will suffer for this one 2 weeks ago

Spare Dublin the virtue-signalling outrage, but wider GAA community will suffer for this one

If you haven't broken the Covid restrictions in the last month, you either don't have a car or you're flexible with the truth.

A rogue respects a rogue, so when it comes to a group of footballers breaking out for a kick-around that, let's be honest, will have about as much impact on the spread of Covid in this country as a six-kilometre journey, your natural instinct is to defend them.

True, they're not supposed to be training but you're not supposed to have had one visitor in your home since January. Nod and a wink and will you have a cup of tea? We're all well aware of the scientific back-up in their corner too, so with the risk gone with the wind and the danger the same as crossing the road, would you be well getting outraged about it?

Maybe last April, when minds were fresh and the biscuit hadn't yet been taken, you could have had your moment in the virtue signalling sun, you could even have called out a few of these football-kicking renegades to show what an honest, genuine and law-abiding citizen you are.

Even the patient have lost their patience by now though and as the old saying goes, non-sensical rules are there to be broken after a year full of bull.

But this is hardly even about Covid anymore, this is about the GAA and whether you're from Ballymun or Ballyhaunis, whether you're a 'what is the world coming to?' or a 'who do these people think they are?' the deeper you as a Gael dig into the Dublin footballers' training session on Wednesday morning, the less likely you are to come out of that hole defending them.

Footballer of the Year Brian Fenton was present at the Wednesday morning session.

Because it isn't the general public who will feel the burn from this one, it's not even the Dublin football panel who will feel the burn from this one. It's the players from other counties who, rightly or wrongly, are hearing 'sure aren't ye all at it?' all morning. It's the GAA, its boards and decision-makers who now have a weaker hand to play when NPHET go off on their next tangent because cases spiked and nothing else in the world matters.

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It's the club players who will be kicked even further down the road than September because, did we mention, Covid cases are the only thing in the world that matters and if the GAA couldn't control their standard bearers then how could they hope to control those wild barbaric club reformists?

It's not Dublin's fault that society is like this, but it is and we've all had to deal with that.

It's only when you see the man in the peaked cap and hear that, like any good trainer would, he was arranging drills and roaring encouragement that the benefit of Dublin's doubt begins to wane. This wasn't just a random meet and greet.

Try telling us with a straight face that the nine lads went behind Dessie Farrell's back to do a few drills with some outsider. No, everyone involved with the Dublin senior football panel knows about it and if there was a session going on in a north-side pitch like Innisfails, then why wouldn't there be a south-side session in Kilmacud?

You think to yourself, how in God's name did an Irish Independent photographer find themselves hiding behind a tree in Malahide at 7.00 in the morning and then you realise this isn't the first time they've trained there.

Contrary to what many hyper-sensitive true blues will have you believe, the fact that the group of footballers turned out to be Dublin footballers doesn't change much. Down were roasted and Cork were roasted.

It's more-so that on this very week, the light had shone from the tunnel and training was only the kick of a ball away. It's the fact that there are people out there silly enough to question why the GAA would get preferential treatment over something like the League of Ireland when 1 million people tune into the All-Ireland final but only 122'000 watched the FAI Cup final. Those people have a stick to play around with now and that's dangerous for all of us.

You wouldn't know what way the punishment could go. It could be something harmless like a ten week ban for some selector that won't be patrolled or there could be something coming Dessie Farrell's way.

But by God, sitting pretty with the feet up in Glasnevin, isn't John Horan a happy man he doesn't have to deal with this one.