Coronavirus fears spark GAA fixture chaos

Coronavirus fears spark GAA fixture chaos

A seat marked for social distancing at Parnell Park yesterday. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

The increasing number of Covid-enforced fixture postponements means the scheduling of games midweek will be required if all Cork county championships are to be concluded within the club window.

Of the three Cork Premier SFC quarter-finals scheduled for yesterday, only the meeting of Duhallow and Valley Rovers went ahead as planned.

The clash between St Finbarr’s and Newcestown was called off yesterday morning after Newcestown informed the county board that a small number of senior panellists were awaiting test results. The players are believed to have been identified as close contacts of an individual from outside the club who tested positive for Covid-19.

The game has been provisionally refixed for tomorrow (7.30pm throw-in).

Further midweek games will be required in order to have all Cork county championships completed by the second weekend of October if the number of fixtures to be postponed because of the virus continues to rise.

The Ballincollig-Nemo Rangers Cork Premier SFC quarter-final was postponed on Thursday last after notification of a positive case within the Ballincollig club.

A new date for this fixture has yet to be released.

Saturday’s Carbery division Junior A football championship quarter-final between Kilmeen and Tadhg MacCarthaigh was put back until tomorrow, Tuesday, as one member of one of the competing sides is awaiting the result of a Covid-19 test.

In Galway, four games which were scheduled for yesterday were called off because of Covid-19.

Late on Saturday evening, Galway GAA postponed the meeting of champions St Thomas’ and Cappataggle in the senior hurling championship semi-final at Pearse Stadium. The second semi-final between Turloughmore and Loughrea went ahead as scheduled.

The Galway senior and junior camogie county finals, which were also pencilled in for yesterday were called off midweek after a positive Covid-19 test in the Sarsfields club, who are contesting both finals.

The intermediate football semi-final between Dunmore MacHales and Cortoon Shamrocks was pulled just an hour before it was due to start at 2pm in Tuam Stadium after it emerged that one of the players had come into contact with a suspected Covid-19 case.

Elsewhere, the entire Donegal senior panel are self-isolating after a member of Declan Bonner’s squad tested positive for Covid-19.

“After a long hiatus, and in line with GAA guidelines, the Donegal senior squad returned to collective training this week. All of the squad were tested for Covid-19 and one of the squad has had a positive result,” read a county board statement released on Saturday.

Donegal are due to play Tyrone at home on the weekend of October 17/18 and then Kerry away the following week in the Allianz League Division 1, before welcoming Tyrone in the Ulster SFC quarter-final on November 1.

With the number of confirmed cases rapidly rising in the north-west, the Donegal JFC semi-final between Letterkenny Gaels and St Mary’s, which was to be played over the weekend, was postponed as the Convoy-based club were “waiting on test results for club members and people in the community”.

On Friday, a lunchtime meeting of the Competitions’ Controls Committee decided to postpone the entire Senior B and Intermediate B championships, which only kicked off last week.

Their statement read: “The CCC have reviewed the Championships, given the number of players working in Dublin and travelling to fulfil reserve Championship fixtures we have decided to postpone the Senior and Intermediate B Championship with immediate effect which we will review at a later stage.

“We feel it is fair to all clubs as we will not be expecting players to break travel restrictions to fulfil fixtures.”

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