Grassroots GAA members, whilst accepting that there may be no competitive action this year, are hoping to convince senior officials to reconsider their stance on opening club grounds on a limited basis before 20 July.

Club and county board officers from all over the country, as well as some high-profile managers and players, spent the weekend communicating their concerns.

If the 'R' rate of infection continues to drop it's expected representations will be made to Croke Park seeking a  re-examination of their closed-door policy for club players. 

The hope would be that small groups could be let on to pitches in separate clutches before the end of July.

The concerns being raised at ground level include the mental health of under 30s and the effects on rural Ireland.

"Without question we accept there will be no games whilst there social distancing is still in place," said one source. "We would struggle to see how there could be.

"But we do feel that the situation could be helped, certainly in terms of the decision not to let people into their clubs on a phased basis before 20 July.

"It's already clear to us the effect this is having on young players across the country.

"It’s having a huge effect on rural Ireland especially. The GAA club is the hub of a community in many places and, without it, people are struggling. Parishes, villages and towns are too.

"We are just talking about letting a few players into a field at a time. Let them puck or kick around, let them chat at a distance. Not having that sense of belonging is hurting a lot of people and, from our discussions, we have to be aware of the effect it’s having on players under 30 too.

"Even in small groups of four players can get some exercise, retain the bond that they’ve had, work on their skills and, more importantly, feel part of something again. Identity is a serious issue in all of this. So much of our lives is tied to the GAA."

On the Sunday Game, GAA President John Horan effectively ruled out a return to competitive action whilst social distancing measures remained in place.

But Horan also added the risks of Covid-19 hitting clubs, players and members were considerable if they re-opened too quickly and reiterated that facilities would remain closed until 20 July at the earliest.

He acknowledged that date could be reconsidered if Government guidelines changed - but cautioned that policing the activity of GAA clubs was not a responsibility the Association was going to place on its volunteer members.

The president admitted that the GAA had been taken by surprise when the Government said that facilities could open to groups of four on 18 May, followed by non-contact training on 9 June.

Horan said his Association needed to study those directives closely and, upon consideration, they felt that scenario could not be marshalled by people in clubs.

"Because our clubs are led by a load of good quality volunteer people and to put the onus on volunteer people to make the decisions to police and organise training within our facilities, we just felt that would be too much on them," Horan added.

"I've had contact since from one or two club chairmen who said, 'thanks for taking it out of our hands', because we were concerned how we were actually going to police it within our grounds."

There are also fears in HQ - and beyond - that local puck or kick-arounds for four people could quickly elevate to full behind-closed-doors team sessions.

However, those lobbying senior GAA officials say that an element of trust has to be placed in the hands of grassroots members who could monitor the situation.

"People in our Association are socially responsible and if the gates were re-opened on this basis, we would find it hard to believe that any club official would let things get out of hand," the source continued.

"It would be policed at ground-level, like so many other things and activities are. We will be talking to senior GAA figures about looking at this. Understandably, they are cautious, and we admire them for that. There are other knock-on factors that need to be looked at, though, including social and mental health concerns, and we want to bring attention to those also."