Coronavirus scare forces postponement of Mayo League game

Saturday night's IFL game between Louisburgh and Balla was called off 
Coronavirus scare forces postponement of Mayo League game
Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

THE start of the Mayo GAA club season was overshadowed by one football match not going ahead due to a confirmed Covid case in the west of the county.

A Secondary Intermediate League game between Louisburgh and Balla, which was due to be played on Saturday evening in Louisburgh, was called off after Balla refused to travel.

It later emerged that Louisburgh GAA officials had contacted their Balla counterparts on Friday night, informing them that of ‘concerns locally’ about a case of Covid-19.

According to a tweet from Balla GAA, ‘a doctor advice not to play the fixture’ was also mentioned by Louisburgh GAA in that initial conversation, along with a suggestion that ‘the match be played behind closed doors’.

However, Balla GAA officers, players and management subsequently discussed the matter on Saturday morning before declaring that they were ‘unwilling to travel. . . on the basis of the concerns raised by Louisburgh’.

Louisburgh GAA issued a statement via social media on Saturday night where they acknowledged that they had ‘acted in an overly cautious way. . . with the best interests at heart of the two clubs’ and said they would be ‘following the protocols in place set down by the HSE and GAA going forward’.

“Louisburgh GAA acknowledges that we acted in an overly cautious way going beyond protocols with the best interests at heart of the two clubs: Louisburgh and Balla,” read the statement. “Unfortunately, this resulted in the game not being played.

On learning of a confirmed case of Covid in the Louisburgh region, we acted with extreme caution. We wish the patient a speedy recovery.

“We will be following the protocols in place set down by the HSE and GAA going forward as we navigate these challenging times.

“Louisburgh GAA has suspended activities to allow time for necessary actions regarding contact tracing to conclude. We look forward to progressing with fixtures for the community and getting back to normal activity in the coming days working with the GAA community.’ 

Balla GAA later tweeted to say that they ‘acknowledge that Louisburgh GAA acted with the very best intentions’ and said they looked forward to the clubs meeting in the West Mayo Junior B championship on Wednesday evening.

Meanwhile, Mayo manager James Horan was among the crowd of some 200 people who watched the county senior champions Ballintubber get their Michael Walsh Secondary Senior League campaign off to a winning start in Claremorris.

Last year’s Mayo captain Diarmuid O’Connor was among those in action while veteran Alan Dillon came off the bench, but Cillian O’Connor, who hasn’t played a competitive game since last November due to a persistent knee problem, didn’t feature.

Elsewhere, there was better news concerning Mayo forward Jason Doherty who started his first competitive game since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in the All-Ireland SFC ‘Super 8s’ match against Donegal almost 12 months ago.

Doherty lined out for Burrishoole in their Secondary League win over Lahardane.

The focus in Mayo is already starting to turn to the upcoming club championships.

The opening two rounds of the eagerly-awaited senior, intermediate and junior competitions are scheduled for the weekends of August 1/2 and August 8/9.

The county senior hurling championship throws-in next Friday, July 24.

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