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Let them play: Shirley McCay supports a return for youth sport

Let them play: Shirley McCay supports a return for youth sport

�INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Let them play: Shirley McCay supports a return for youth sport

Shirley McCay is hoping that a return to outdoor sport for the province's young people will feature on the agenda this week when the NI Executive announces its proposed pathway to recovery for the post lockdown period.

The Pegasus and Ireland star insists that, in her view, there is no reason why such a step  should not be part of the blueprint.

There has been no hockey or collective training since last October due to coronavirus restrictions.

All schools' knock-out competitions have been cancelled, but a contingency plan has been pencilled in to have some sort of return-to-play if the current restrictions are lifted and logistics allow.

McCay was among the 50-plus sports people who were signatories to a document which was sent to the First and Deputy First Ministers, urging a return to sport for our young people.

She insists the benefits of such a move far outweigh any risks to public health and her views have been echoed by others, including the NI Sports Forum which represents governing bodies here.

McCay (32) works for Ulster Hockey as a talent coach and oversees the province's under-16 and 18 inter-provincial teams.

she said: "Clubs and schools across the country have gone above and beyond to ensure our young hockey players can play and train in a safe and controlled environment, often at considerable financial cost."

"The government have no evidence to suggest outdoor sport increases transmission of Covid.

"Every day I see hundreds of children and parents crammed into play grounds and parks, but allowing 15-20 kids spread out onto a hockey pitch is banned?

McCay, who has won 306 Irish caps, firmly believes that the ban on school sport currently in place is having a negative effect on children's wellbeing.

She added: "Our young sports people are suffering from a lack of social connection and physical activity and I've no doubt it has had a detrimental impact on not only their physical health, but their mental health as well."

Belfast Telegraph


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