Gerry Thornley: Coronavirus crisis could be terminal for Ireland's rugby clubs

Never before has rugby seemed so two-tiered with clubs at the back of the queue to return

Action from a Women’s AIL Division One game between Old Belvedere and Galwegians at Anglesea Road in Dublin. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

Action from a Women’s AIL Division One game between Old Belvedere and Galwegians at Anglesea Road in Dublin. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

For the professional game the multi-million financial losses will be much more severe, whenever rugby returns and in whatever guise. But, while these things are relative, the mere millions lost at amateur level will be felt just as acutely, if not more, and the longer this hiatus lasts the greater the likelihood of an irreversible drop in playing numbers and also the increasing probability of clubs going to the wall.

Club rugby is no different from their counterparts in other team sports, but whereas the professional game can potentially mass test, provide full-time medical attention and even cocoon their players and staff, the amateur game cannot do so.

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