“Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone! All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.”
There was a bit of a ‘stand-off’ in Walsh Park on Saturday over some new kids on the blocks.
County Secretary Tim O’Keeffe was heckled by adults on the far bank as he sought to persuade groups of children and in some cases parents to remove themselves/their little ones from the perimeter wall in front of the far bank. Supporting his argument, the Clashmore clubman cited the case of a child who’d fallen off a wall at a match in Limerick the previous week, suffering a broken arm. The jeers from the semi-grassy knoll were of the Pink Floyd variety, insisting the youngsters weren’t doing any harm and to leave them alone. Eventually Tim – who was only doing his duty of care as he saw it – gave up, with the young Ballygunner and Lismore fans happily watching the action from their cement perch.
I can see the GAA official’s point of view, but certainly children could be up to a lot worse. And sure aren’t they in danger of breaking a bone every time they play hurling, camogie or football (including the half-time puckarounds which are also under review, I’ll bet)?
In these cost-conscious times Croke Park is clearly putting pressure on all its units to improve risk management, with the GAA liable for the first €1.75m of the annual claims brought against it.
Interestingly, the Games Development section of the GAA’s own code, which is the responsibility of Waterford man Pat Daly, states under the public liability heading: “In the interest of safety of players and spectators it should be ensured that: as far as possible, no obstacles such as sideline seating, corner posts or walls should be within 5m of the sideline/touchline.”
No matter where you’re sitting or stood, the wall in Walsh Park looks a lot closer than that.