Covid-19 Safe Return to Play

Welcome to the St Vincents “Safe Return To Play” section of our website. This page will be kept up to date with policies and guidelines as we return to training and playing. This is an evolving situation, and we recommend that readers check back regularly, and monitor our social media channels for changes.
If you are interested in protocols for Mini Leagues, we recommend you read this page, and also our page specifically about Mini Leagues Safe Return to play.

This page was last updated on 19th April 2021

Update 19 April 2021

Return to play is next Monday, 26th April for Juvenile players.  Return to play protocols will remain in place. Foireann, the return to play system has a number of changes, and some of these WILL cause confusion.  Please read this link if you experience any issues.

Update, 5th January 2021

The GAA Issued an update today, which stated:

Given the current exceptional rise in infection rates of Covid 19 and the increased risk of community transmission, the GAA has taken the decision that there will be no collective training permitted for inter-county teams for at least the remainder of the month of January.  

In addition, Club and County gyms must stay closed until further notice.  

As previously advised, and under the current Government Regulations in both jurisdictions, neither training nor games are permitted at club level currently.   

Breaches of any of the above provisions will be dealt with under Rule 7.2 (e) “Misconduct considered to have discredited the Association”. The full wording of this Rule and potential penalties are included as an Appendix 1 below.  

As you are aware, the current Level 5 restrictions in the South will run until January 31st at which point the GAA will review the current situation and further advice in this context will be provided.  “

What follows is our guidelines on Safe Return to play issued back in June. When we can return to play, these guidelines will come back into force.

The GAA have issued a document called “Covid-19: Guidelines on Safe Return to Gaelic Games”.  This document outlines the responsibilities on all parties; The Club Executive, Mentors, Players and Parents and Guardians. Each and every one of us has a part to play. If we all work together, we can look forward to getting back to playings Gaelic games.

A copy of the document can be downloaded here. In the event of a new version being made available, we will endeavour to ensure the above link is always to the latest available version. We urge all players, mentors and parents/guardians to familiarise themselves with the contents of this document.

In order to help you understand your responsibilities, we’ve summarised the information from the GAA into separate, easy to digest slide presentations. These cover the key points in the GAA document which you can consult if you have further questions.

Covid-19 Safe Return to Play – General Guidelines

Covid-19 Safe Return to Play – Guidelines for Mentors

Covid-19 Safe Return to Play – Guidelines for Players

Covid-19 Safe Return to Play – Guidelines for Parents and Guardians

Update, 2nd December 2020

A number of questions have arisen from mentors and covid supervisors in recent months about how to deal with a report of a suspected case or a case of Covid-19. We’ve collated this into a document called “Frequently Asked Question About Dealing With Positive Cases”. This can be downloaded here

Update, 1st December 2020

As the country comes out of lockdown level 5, the GAA have issued draft updated guidelines. This is summarised below:

  • Club Games are still not permitted.
  • Underage and adult training can continue, but remain in pods of 15, with no contact.
  • Return to play health questionnaires remain mandatory.
  • Indoor facilities remain closed.

The full text of the statement can be downloaded here.

Update, 21st October 2020

From midnight on Wednesday 21st October, Ireland moves to Level 5 in the government’s “Plan for Living with Covid-19”. In response to this, the GAA have issued an updated set of guidelines.

We urge anyone who wants to understand the full extent of these guidelines to read the GAA notice. Summarised below are the main points affecting players, parents/guardians and mentors.

  • No adult games or training should take place between now and December 1.
  • Training at minor level and below are permitted. Training must be non-contact, and limited to pods of 15 people.
  • Attendance by Parents/Guardians are limited to one per child (for child protection reasons)
  • Health questionnaires must be filled out by anyone coming into the club grounds.
  • The injury benefit scheme will only cover training sessions organised with the conditions outlined above.

The document is more comprehensive, covering inter-county, the use of club facilities and more. It can be downloaded here.

Update, 18th September 2020

Fógra: Dublin move to Level 3 Covid-19 Restrictions
With the announcement of Dublin entering Level 3 Covid-19 Restrictions the following is in effect:

  • All Minor games are postponed for the duration of Level 3 Restrictions
  • All juvenile games are postponed
  • Underage training must be on a non-contact basis in pods of up to 15
  • Adult championship games will go ahead, but on a behind-closed-doors basis. No spectators are allowed at these games. NOTE: If you are a parent or guardian of player who is under the age of 18 years who is playing in an adult game, you can be in the vicinity of a game (e.g. in a car park), but you may not spectate at the game.
  • No challenge games are to be organised.
  • All city council pitches are closed until a return to level 2. This means if you have training scheduled in city council pitches, you’ll need to request a new slot for the club grounds

1. Government Website which explains level 3.
2. Dublin GAA statement regarding adult games.
3. Dublin GAA statement regarding juvenile games.

Updates 26th August 2020

The government issued guidelines on outdoor gatherings on Tuesday 18th August, effectively restricting outdoor sporting events to “behind closed doors” events. This left some confusion regarding parents/guardians attending juvenile games.

Today, on 26h August 2020, the communications department of the GAA have issued the following statement regarding parents attending children’s games:

Covid Advisory Group – Updated advice on attendance at underage games

26 August 2020 

The GAA’s Covid Advisory committee have issued updated guidance to all clubs in relation to attendance at underage games. This advice is based on updated guidelines issued on behalf of the Government by Sport Ireland: 

Clubs should note that:  

    • No more than 1 designated individual should attend a training session or game per child/family/group of children. 
    • The GAA Health Questionnaires MUST be completed by parents/guardians in advance of attendance. 
    • Overall numbers should be kept to a minimum and in line with the space available in the venue/facility. 

Parents are NOT permitted to be in attendance at adult games where their child (U18) is participating. However, provision can be made to allow an adult to be in close proximity (e.g. in the car park etc) in case medical or other emergency needs require their presence.  

It has also been clarified that a parent/guardian attending an underage game in these circumstances shall not be subject to vetting as they are only the supervisor in a guardianship role for their own child and not any other child on the team. 

(Message Ends)

Updates 1st July 2020

The GAA updated its safe return to play document to version 1.3. It includes a section on dealing with positive symptomalogy. A full list of changes to the document is now included in the document. In addition, there is an briefing update in a video here.

Mentors: Please note that there is specific advice on what to do if a player reports symptoms, and what this means for your team and your training.

Updates 21st June 2020

Following a new set of guidelines issued by the GAA on Saturday 20th June and a meeting of the club executive on 21st June, a number of changes has been made to our guidelines above.  Specifically:

  1. The club will reopen its training facilities on June 29th.
  2. Training will be full contact training, not distanced training as previously announced.
  3. Medical Questionnaires and attendance records will need to be maintained.
  4. All players, mentors and parents/guardians will have had to taken the online GAA learning module.

The Player injury scheme will be back operational from June 24th for Adult players, and June 27th for Minor and Juvenile players.  Teams will be assigned training slots in the coming days.

Updates 19th June 2020

The Covid-19 Club Education eLearning module for Gaelic Games is now available. This needs to be taken by every Player, Mentor, Covid Supervisor, Club Executive and Parent/Guardian. It takes 20 mins. to complete. It must be done before returning to training/games. The training is available at this link.


Updates on 13th June 2020

The GAA issued an updated version of the Safe Return to Play document. Please note our link above is up to date and references the latest version.

There following changes occurred in the new document:

  1. Changes to healthcare questionnaire frequency: It was previously stated that the healthcare questionnaire would need to be filled out prior to every training session. This has been changed. It now must be filled out once prior to return to training. It is the responsibility of the individual to notify their team Covid representative should there be a change in circumstances prior to subsequent sessions.
  2. Temperature monitoring. It was previously stated that the club would be responsible for temperature checks. This responsibility has been removed – it is the responsibility of individuals to monitor their own temperature prior to training.
  3. Healthcare questionnaire changes. Changes to the questions asked, and clarification of the data retention policy has been made.

The official notification of the changes can be read here

In addition, the GAA have updated information on online training:

Online training for players, mentors and parents/guardians will be available from Wednesday 17th June. This will take the form of a 30 minute online course. Please note: Certification of having taken the online training will be mandatory and forms part of the healthcare questionnaire.

There is also a club briefing on Tuesday, 16th June at 6pm-7pm aimed at officers and Covid-19 supervisors, but all are welcome to attend. To attend, your must register at this link.

Details on both training sessions can be found at the GAA Covid-19 education page.