Small number of Cork clubs opt to pull the plug on 2020 Cúl Camps

By Eoghan Cormican
Staff writer

A small number of Cork clubs are among the first in the country to cancel their 2020 Cúl Camp.

The GAA Cúl Camps - which last year attracted 156,000 children between the ages of six and 13 to 1,250 centres around the country - are still scheduled to go ahead this summer, with Croke Park having informed county boards that camps cannot take place until July 20.

In Cork, the annual Cúl Camps are organised and run by the clubs themselves, rather than the county board, and so the final decision as to whether a camp goes ahead at a particular club lies with that club.

Over the past two days, a small number of clubs in the county have taken the decision to cancel their 2020 Cúl Camp.

The clubs who have stated they will not be proceeding with a camp this summer include Bishopstown, Bantry Blues, Croke Rovers (juvenile club comprising Castlemagner and Kilbrin), Éire Óg, Kilmurry, Knocknagree, and Millstreet.

Several of these clubs posted a statement on their Facebook and Twitter accounts, which read: “Following an update meeting with County Board officers [on Monday], we have decided not to proceed with Cúl Camp this year.

“Safety is the top priority and the measures required for Covid related protection would be extremely challenging to implement and adhere to. Additionally, these measures, whilst absolutely necessary, would have taken much of the enjoyment out of the week for the kids.”

The Irish Examiner understands other Cork clubs have similarly informed parents in their catchment area that they too will not be running a Cúl Camp.

National Cúl Camps co-ordinator Charlie Harrison has prepared a roadmap for how the camps would take place nationwide, HSE guidelines permitting.

If Cúl Camps are given the green light to commence on Monday, July 20, a select number of pilot camps may take place that week, with the majority throwing-in from Monday, July 27. It is believed the number of children attending each camp could be capped at 100.

Cork GAA Games Manager Kevin O’Callaghan outlined how Cork differs from the rest of the country in their running of the Cúl Camps.

“The camps are organised and run by the club, with support from Cork County Board. In other counties, the camps are county board run," O'Callaghan explained.

"The county board will book your club ground for the week and supply the coaches. That group of coaches go on to a different venue the following week, and so on,” he added.

In Cork, we have 120 camps, so we couldn't possibly put a roadshow together for every club in the county.

"What we do is support the clubs, we guide and educate them on how to run it. The clubs have their own co-ordinators. They organise to get their coaches trained up in advance.

“We are endorsing the Cúl Camps and we’re leaving it open to clubs to run the camps if they wish. It is important to state that some clubs may not have the capacity to adhere to social distancing guidelines. It could be a case, for example, that their indoor facility might not be big enough to practice social distancing in the event they were forced inside because of bad weather."

If current social distancing guidelines have been removed by July 20, Cork clubs who have cancelled their camp will be permitted to perform a U-turn, should they wish to do so.

The Tyrone county board announced on Tuesday the 2020 Tyrone GAA summer camps, which are separate from Cúl Camps, would not be taking place this summer.

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