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Gaelic Games put on hold due to COVID-19

Croke Park - where Antrim's hurlers were due to face Kerry on Sunday in the Division 2A final – will lie empty, as will all GAA grounds until at least March 29 
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane Croke Park - where Antrim's hurlers were due to face Kerry on Sunday in the Division 2A final – will lie empty, as will all GAA grounds until at least March 29 Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane
By David Mohan

GAELIC Games are on lockdown following today’s announcement by Taoiseach Leo Varakar that the Republic of Ireland will move to close schools, colleges and childcare facilities with indoor gatherings of over 100 not permitted as-well-as outdoor activities numbering over 500.

The GAA along with the Camogie Association and Ladies Gaelic Football Association was quick to issue a statement that complies with the government’s directive with all activities including games and training across the board halted until at least March 29.

This means that Antrim’s hurlers will have to wait to play their National League 2A final against Kerry at a later date, while the footballers’ trip to Wicklow is also shelved. Both games were due to take place on Sunday.

All club activity is suspended, as are the Ulster Colleges’ finals on St Patrick’s Day.

The common sense approach has been welcomed and in a statement, Antrim GAA explained its decision to comply with the directive.

“As members of Cumann Luthchleas Gael, we take our civic duties seriously,” it read.

“We owe it to our players, coaches, volunteers, families and wider community to take care of one another as best we can. That especially relates to those in our communities who are most at risk from infection by Covid 19.

“Therefore, Antrim GAA is advising all clubs to suspend activities, including team practice, meetings and social events from Friday 13thMarch 2020 until further notice is provided.

“In order to assist, Antrim GAA is suspending all senior and underage fixtures until further notice. Regular communication updates will issue through clubs for the attention of all members over the coming days.”

Basketball Ireland were also quick to suspend all activities as they announced on Wednesday evening that all games including this weekend’s final round of Super League fixtures are to be played at a later time.

It will be disappointing for Belfast Star whose final game against St Vincent’s is now pushed back, but a decision that had to be made according to the governing body.

“The health and safety of the Basketball Ireland community is our priority and we are determined to be proactive regarding precautions to limit the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19),” read its statement.

“Basketball Ireland is therefore instructing all affiliates to suspend all basketball competitions and events with immediate effect.

“We understand that this decision will result in inconvenience and disappointment to many players, coaches, officials, volunteers and supporters, particularly at this time when various competitions are reaching their concluding stages.

“However, we are sure that all will understand that the decision is taken in the best interests, not just of the basketball community, but also family, friends and the wider community.”

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