GAA Football

Roscommon will fulfil final League fixture against Cavan despite Covid case

Roscommon have confirmed that they will fulfil their final National League game against Cavan tomorrow, despite a positive Covid case in the camp. Anthony Cunningham's men moved to within touching distance of promotion from Division Two with victory over Armagh last weekend. Picture by Philip Walsh
Neil Loughran

ROSCOMMON have confirmed they will fulfil their final National Football League fixture against Cavan tomorrow, despite a positive Covid-19 case in their panel.

Following the withdrawals of Leitrim last weekend, and subsequently Longford and Waterford for their scheduled games against Cork and Antrim respectively in recent days, it had been feared that the Rossies’ clash with the Breffnimen could also be left in doubt.

However, Roscommon have stated that they will travel to Kingspan Breffni Park tomorrow despite the discovery of the Covid case. Close contacts have been identified for testing and isolation but it is not yet clear how many panel members are deemed to be close contacts of the positive case.

“A member of the Roscommon senior football panel has tested positive for Covid-19,” read the Rossies’ statement.

“On receipt of instructions from the HSE in conjunction with our medical team, the members of the panel and management who have been deemed to be close contacts have now been referred for testing and have also began their period of restricted movement.

“These panel members and management will only re-join the panel when deemed safe to do so by the HSE. The senior football management and panel have at all times strictly adhered to HSE and Public Health guidelines.

“Roscommon GAA will play Cavan this Saturday in round seven of the National Football League as planned.”

In the wake of last Saturday’s crucial Division Two victory over Armagh at the Athletic Grounds, manager Anthony Cunningham confirmed that Roscommon had travelled to the Orchard County using two buses, stating that a number of players still didn’t feel comfortable with that and opted to travel in their own cars.

The Rossies, whose panel could be left depleted as a result of the positive test, come into tomorrow’s game knowing their return to Division One was all but secured as a result of that victory over Kieran McGeeney’s men.

With nine points already, even a defeat to Cavan and wins for promotion hopefuls Armagh and Westmeath would likely be enough for them to go up as the Lake County, whose score difference is zero, would require a huge win over Kildare to move ahead.

Cavan, on six points, sit alongside Clare and Kildare in having promotion and relegation interests heading into the last weekend of League action.

Meanwhile, Offaly have been forced to concede tomorrow’s Christy Ring Cup clash with Kildare after "over 25" of their players were deemed 'close contacts' of a positive Covid case.

Last night the Faithful county confirmed in a statement that they could not fulfil the fixture, and expressed surprise the squad had not been deemed casual contacts of the player who tested positive.

Three of Michael Fennelly’s senior panel had to pull out of Wednesday’s Leinster U20 Championship win over Westmeath, with the county board stating that they looked for solutions since the matter arose.

Offaly also confirmed that they had engaged with the GAA’s rapid testing program.

"Offaly GAA regret that it will not be possible for our senior hurlers to fulfil the Christy Ring Cup fixture versus Kildare this Saturday," read the statement.

"The HSE has deemed almost every member of the Offaly panel as a ‘close contact’ of a player with Covid-19. The player tested positive on Wednesday, October 21, and had not taken part in training with squad since October 13. The remainder of the panel are obliged to restrict their movements for 14 days (until October 27).

“Offaly GAA County Board officers have liaised with GAA officials in Croke Park since this issue arose on Wednesday afternoon. Our preferred option was for a postponement of the game, but we understand that this course of action is not possible as all GAA Championships must be completed in a short timeframe.

“We hope to participate in the second round of the Christy Ring Cup on the weekend of 7th/8th November, when the players who are restricting their movements will hopefully be available. They are currently availing of the GAA’s rapid testing facility.

"Offaly GAA wish to stress that we would be prepared to participate in Saturday’s game with a depleted squad. However, it is simply not feasible with over 25 players ruled out.

"We also wish to emphasise that the County Board, team management, players and backroom staff have followed HSE and GAA guidelines in relation to Covid-19 at all times, and had expected that the panel members would have been deemed ‘casual contacts’ rather than ‘close contacts’ of the one player with Covid-19.

"Finally, Offaly GAA accept that this is short notice for Kildare ahead of Saturday’s fixture, but wish to assure them that since this matter arose on Wednesday afternoon, we have been working tirelessly to avoid this unfortunate situation whereby the game cannot proceed as fixed."

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