Waterford accept Antrim’s offer to play league match in Dundalk
Waterford footballers had conceded the fixture rather than travel to Portglenone
The Antrim footballers are eager for their match against Waterford to played this weekend: “we believe that the integrity of the league needs to be upheld. If we are good enough to collect two points we will do it in a fair and manly manner on the field of play.” Photograph: Inpho
Waterford have accepted the offer by Antrim footballers to play their league match in Dundalk. The Ulster county made the offer on Thursday night after their opponents had conceded a walkover because of Covid-related concerns about travelling to Northern Ireland.
On Friday morning, Waterford indicated that they were now willing to fulfil the fixture: “Waterford last night agreed to Antrim’s generous offer to play the Allianz League game in Dundalk. The game was confirmed later last night for Geraldines Louth GAA club grounds.”
In a message posted on Twitter, Antrim made the offer to switch to Louth to enable the fixture on the final day of the league be played. The county had already expressed willingness to move to Belfast but Waterford wanted a venue closer to Dublin.
“We have offered Waterford GAA to move our home game from Portglenone to Belfast and now to Dundalk. We believe that the integrity of the league needs to be upheld. If we are good enough to collect two points we will do it in a fair and manly manner on the field of play.”
Waterford’s announcement on Thursday morning was issued by both the county board and players. It outlined a number of Covid-related concerns in the context of the pandemic surge in Northern Ireland, including the contentious claim that employers of some of the team and management had insisted on a 14-day quarantine when the team returned despite such precautions not being part of public health guidelines.
“The decision was reached,” ran the Waterford statement, “following the withdrawal of a number of the panel members due to:
“The personal family circumstances of some of the players, leading to concerns and reservations within the playing group of traveling to the Belfast area. These personal circumstances must be respected. Further, the reservations of spending a night in a hotel, coupled with the risk associated with the general exposure relating to the 24-hour period.
“The employers of several players and members of the team management stipulating that a 14-day isolation period would be required on returning from Northern Ireland.”