By Conor Kane
It's a brave new sporting world, with social distancing and sanitising now top of the agenda at GAA venues.
The scenes at Chadwicks Wexford Park on Friday night for the senior hurling clash between Oulart the Ballagh and St Martin's, with the capacity limited to 200, were all so different to July of 2019 when thousands gathered to greet the Model County's Leinster title winners.
While everyone was glad to be back, Friday morning's call by GAA president John Horan to raise the maximum attendance allowed to 500 was echoed.
"If it's increased to 500, I'd certainly welcome it," said Wexford chairman Derek Kent.
"It'd be less of a headache for us. It's disappointing our clubs' supporters can't all get to the games, but to be fair to most people, they understand."
Championship 2020 is under way, and the hope is that the work done to prevent public health being threatened by these fixtures will allow the season to run smoothly, albeit in a shorter form.
"It's up to everyone to have their own house in order and keep up with the social distancing and the government guidelines," added Oulart the Ballagh player Shaun Murphy.
"We'll probably never see the likes of it gain - well, hopefully we'll never see the likes of it again," St Martin's Joe O'Connor said.
"But I'd rather this sort of Championship than no championship at all."
St Martin's defeated Oulart the Ballagh 5-19 to 3-16 in an entertaining Group A round one encounter.
Murphy was sent off for Oulart in the second half, with Jake Firman rattling home a hat-trick of goals for the victors.
St Martin's and Oulart the Ballagh got up close and personal during this age of social distancing at Wexford Park this evening. pic.twitter.com/dVJQ8XUkMr— RTÉ GAA (@RTEgaa) July 17, 2020