Offaly forced to withdraw from Kildare game after player tests positive for Covid-19
HSE deems most of the hurling panel as close contacts ahead of Christy Ring clash
Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho
Offaly hurlers have been forced to withdraw from the Christy Ring Cup match with Kildare this weekend. The decision was announced by the county on Thursday night as a result of a player testing positive for coronavirus and virtually the entire panel being declared close contacts and so obliged to restrict their movements.
The county hopes to be ready to compete in round two of the competition on the weekend after next.
County officials had hoped to secure a postponement of their first match but with this year’s tight scheduling, the GAA were unable to accommodate the request.
Offaly also say that they were prepared to field a weakened team but the ruling out of so many players made that impossible. The county had expected most of the other players to be deemed ‘casual’ rather than ‘close’ contacts, as had been the decision in most cases this year throughout the GAA but the HSE deemed otherwise.
The statement in full:
“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.”