Dungarvan set to be stripped of county title as part of Covid-19 punishment

Waterford management committee also recommend six suspensions
Dungarvan set to be stripped of county title as part of Covid-19 punishment

Waterford GAA’s management committee have proposed Dungarvan be stripped of their county intermediate football title as a result of a player awaiting a Covid-19 case lining out in the final earlier this month.

Six club members have also been recommended suspensions by the county’s Coiste Bainistí, which was referred the case following advice from Croke Park. Initially, Waterford’s competitions control committee had been due to oversee the investigation.

Dungarvan are said to be considering the punishments and have until Wednesday to confirm whether they will accept or contest them. Should they do the latter, the county’s hearings committee will convene to adjudge their arguments possibly later this week.

The management committee made their decision following a two-hour meeting last Thursday. It appears they have proposed the penalties under Rule 7.2 (e) of the Official Guide: “Misconduct Considered to have Discredited the Association”. For a team or unit, disqualification may be considered and for individuals a minimum eight-week suspension.

After beating Kill in the IFC final in Walsh Park on October 4, Dungarvan apologised for fielding a player who had not yet received the result of a coronavirus test, which later returned as positive. They acknowledged “errors were made by the club in the interpretation of the Covid-19 guidelines”.

Their statement, released on Facebook, read: “Following a review of the club’s handling of the recent case where a player tested positive for Covid-19 after the game was played, it has been identified that there were errors made by the club in the interpretation of the Covid-19 guidelines and the club wish to sincerely apologise for its mishandling of the situation.

“As a club, we wish to stress that the player involved was following the club’s interpretation of the guidelines and advice at all times, did not attend any of the post-match celebrations, and was acting in good faith.”

Should Dungarvan’s four-point win over Kill be marked null and void, they will remain at intermediate level in 2021 and the championship will go unclaimed.

The case is considered a major one for Croke Park who want to ensure that players are fully aware of the Covid-19 guidelines and are not persuaded to breach them to play for a team. 

Earlier this month, former Tyrone star Seán Cavanagh claimed inter-county footballers and hurlers would not disclose Covid-19 symptoms for fear of not playing or impacting their team’s chances.

“Players will be encouraged to hide potential symptoms of sickness and illness, which is kind of a scary thing because if I was a county player going into the game and I started to have symptoms and it could be Covid-related,” he said. “I know in my head, because I was one of these guys that just always wanted to get on with it and never wanted to diminish my chances or the team’s chances.

“I know I would be feeling, ‘Right, I have to conceal this’ and that’s the scarier thing for me, that there’s going to be pressure on players, I have no doubt, either individually or from a team perspective, that if they start to have symptoms to go and keep away from people, don’t disclose close contacts.”

Meanwhile, broadcasts of the Dublin-Kilkenny (3.45pm) and Cork-Waterford (3.30pm) provincial senior hurling semi-finals will overlap this weekend as only the Munster last-four game is being shown on TV (Sky Sports Mix). The Dublin-Kilkenny fixture in Croke Park will be streamed on GAAGo.

As per rights agreements, the GAA's media partners can’t show games on TV at the same time. although because of the tight Championship schedule this year there is an exemption made in the event games run into extra-time and penalties.

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