Ten-time All-Ireland SHC winner Henry Shefflin has backed up GAA President John Horan's calls for the Irish Government to allow outdoor gatherings of over 200 people.

The Kilkenny legend watched St Martin's beat Oulart the Ballagh at Chadwicks Wexford Park on Friday night, a game that was live on TG4.

There was much anticipation ahead of the Wexford senior club encounter as pundits and fans waited to see how a competitive clash would look under the Covid-19 restrictions that are now in place.     

Shefflin, who stepped down as Ballyhale Shamrocks manager last January after leading his club to a record eighth All-Ireland club hurling title, was left cold by the spectacle. 

"I've stepped back, I'm not involved in a team so I'm very much a volunteer, very much a spectator," he told RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday Sport.

"John Horan said yesterday that the GAA volunteers have acted totally responsibly during this pandemic.

"That is still the case. When I sat down excited, with all this energy, to watch the game last night, the ref threw in the ball and I paused the telly.

"I looked up into this sparse crowd in a stand. It just didn't make any sense to me.

"I was down the field yesterday evening doing some exercise and there was our club volunteers tidying up, men and women of the community here that were down giving up their time for our club.

"Unfortunately, our club is playing in two weeks' time and those people will not be able to get to the game.

"It is very, very difficult on our club officials, who are the volunteers, who make the players do what they do... it's very difficult to turn around to them and say 'no you can't go to the game'. I'd be totally for what John Horan has said."

Wednesday's decision to halt entry to Phase 4 of the Covid-19 roadmap means less than 200 people can attend outdoor events into mid-August, rather than the 500 the GAA had been preparing for from next week.

"We have an opportunity of giving something back to our society and community." - Henry Shefflin

On Friday, Horan told Morning Ireland: "The change in attendance guidelines has delivered a hammer blow to the organisation.

"We put the return to the club game first to benefit our members and help out county boards survive for those clubs but our county boards were relying on an increase to 500 as a way of being able to cater for the demand on the ground from our supporters. 

"If you take those involved in the teams and stewarding out of it, you're probably looking at 120 supporters going to a game.

"We have also encouraged everybody to wear face masks, so I think these figures are a bit severe on us as an organisation, and I openly call on the Taoiseach and Tánaiste to go back and review those figures for us as an organisation."

Shefflin echoed that argument, adding: "I think it's something the government just need to look at. As John Horan outlined, we've acted very responsibly during all this and I think that will [still] be the case. I think there's plenty of capacity to increase the crowds, to give us the opportunity to go and witness the games live again.

"We have an opportunity of giving something back to our society and community and we can manage it because what's going on with house parties et cetera is a lot more challenging and a lot more concerning.

"That's where we should be probably focusing a lot more attention than on people going to watch games who can socially distance.

"Our players are on the field, they're tussling, they're very close to each other and yet we can only put 100 people in a stand in a stadium that might 6,000 people in normal circumstance. It just doesn't make sense for the time being."