Coronavirus: Waterford forfeit National Football League match with Antrim over Covid-19 travel fears
Waterford GAA has conceded their scheduled Division 4 league match against Antrim rather than travel north over Covid-19 fears.
The match had been due to take place at Portglenone on Saturday but citing concerns from players, the county board has decided not to field a team.
In a statement released this morning, Waterford GAA said: "Unfortunately, having weighed up all the options and having regard to the genuine concern of our players, we had no choice but to concede our final league match versus Antrim this weekend.
"This is not a decision that we have taken lightly, particularly given the fact that our game versus London scheduled last weekend also fell victim to the Covid-19 crisis, which puts us in a very vulnerable position going into the first round of the championship versus Limerick on Saturday, 31 October, given that they will have had the opportunity of having played two league games."
Waterford said other options were considered, including requesting the game be played in the Republic. While Antrim did not agree to this request, they did offer to play the match at an alternate venue in the county which Waterford said they "would like to acknowledge".
Waterford said prior to deciding to forfeit the match, a number of players had already withdrawn from the squad amid "reservations within the playing group of travelling to the Belfast area."
The statement said employers of some members of the panel stipulated that a 14-day isolation period would be required upon the players' return from the north.
"Serious consideration was given to these two major factors along with the possibility of any incidence of coronavirus transmission to any of our travelling playing group with a turnaround time of seven days to the Munster Championship," they said.
Waterford raised the prospect of fulfilling the fixture in the future were a venue in the Republic to be agreed.
"We would like to reiterate that Waterford were and are prepared to play our final League game against Antrim at a neutral venue in the Republic and we think that given the current circumstances, this is a reasonable request," they said.