GAA Football

GAA await Covid-19 test from second Ulster club after Atticall confirm shutdown

The GAA are awaiting Covid-19 test from a second Ulster club after Atticall confirmed a temporary shutdown
Andy Watters

THE GAA are now awaiting Covid-19 test results from a player in a second Ulster county after it emerged yesterday that Down club Atticall had suspended training due to an outbreak of the virus.

Ulster GAA secretary Brian McAvoy explained that a player had “been showing symptoms” but the GAA has not released the name of the second club until the case has been confirmed.

McAvoy says the recent case(s) should serve as a timely reminder of the health risks which exist before the GAA makes a return to competitive action this weekend.

“The danger is still there,” he said.

“We’ve had a number of instances at different clubs where players have gone down with the virus – we’ve had outbreaks in Dublin and Cork, now Down and potentially another one in Ulster which hasn’t been confirmed yet.

“It’s going to be an ongoing thing because the virus is still out there, albeit that it is more limited now, and the key thing is for all GAA players to rigidly observe the protocols. Before anybody goes out to train or to play a match this weekend they must complete the online questionnaire and if they are showing any symptoms, or there is any doubt at all, don’t go out, stay at home.

“The onus is on that player not putting their team-mates in danger. All the players have signed up to that so, if they do otherwise, they’re breaking what they signed up to. That’s the key in all of this.”

With club leagues beginning across Ulster this weekend, relevant concerns have been expressed over supporters turning up in numbers to watch games from vantage points outside grounds. Fixtures in the six counties are to be played ‘behind closed doors’ while, in the Republic, attendances of 200 will be permitted across this weekend and that number will have to include the teams, volunteers, officials and any media attending. That figure rises to 500 from the following weekend.

Atticall became the first Ulster club to flag up a positive Covid-19 test since the return to training. The Down club play their senior football in Division 3B and are due to begin their league programme against Liatroim on July 24 but have taken the decision to cancel all training until after Sunday, July 19.

A statement from the club read: “Today a club member has tested positive for Covid-19, and is following instructions from the public Health Agency.

"All relevant people have been contacted, the public health agency will contact any club member if they feel there is a concern. We will keep you up to date of any information received from them.

"The GAA have advised to continue as normal, although we have decided to cancel all training until after Sunday, 19 July."

In the past week, four Cork clubs have had players test positive for Covid-19. North Cork’s Glanworth has suspended activity until close contact assessment and testing is carried out, while three west Cork clubs (Argideen Rangers, Ballinascarthy and St Oliver Plunkett’s) have now been cleared to resume training.

Meanwhile, Dublin GAA club Man O'War has suspended all activities "until further notice" after a club member tested positive for Covid-19.

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GAA Football