After the Storm

After the Storm

The GAA, Covid and the Power of People

Damian Lawlor


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This is the incredible story of how the GAA and its people managed to weather the coronavirus pandemic and re-emerge to fight another day.

On St Patrick's Day 2020, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced that Ireland was locking down. Our lives, purpose and favourite pastime as Irish people - meeting each other - stopped overnight.

Throughout that dark time, the GAA was at the centre of the country's fightback against covid-19. From the start, thousands of volunteers delivered food and medicine to vulnerable neighbours and friends during lockdown. Croke Park and other major stadia transformed into testing centres; the Association went online to keep people connected and became a beacon of hope.

As the Association itself faced financial ruin, its members had their own life and death struggles to contend with. Niall Murphy, of Antrim GAA, was in a coma for sixteen days fighting the virus, and camogie player Marianne Walsh spent her cancer recovery amid strict lockdowns, only dreaming of one day playing for her club again. Hurler Domhnall Nugent battled intense isolation as he recovered from addiction issues. And when championships were shut down after celebrations threatened the association's reputation, uncertainty hung in the air.

But through it all, GAA people rallied. Their stories, and the story of the GAA itself, now need to be told.


Damian Lawlor:
Damian Lawlor is a best-selling author and sports broadcaster with RTÉ. He comes from Kilruane in County Tipperary and lives with his family in Naas, County Kildare. This is his seventh book.