Club ‘disappointed’ over decision not to defer game amid Covid concerns

by Rachel Darcy

A Ringsend based GAA club have said they are ‘very disappointed’ by the decision of the Dublin County Board to not defer a quarter-final hurling game over Covid-19 concerns.

Clanna Gael Fontenoy GAA Club (Clanns) made a request to the board to have the Junior A Hurling Championship quarter final game with Ballyboden St Endas deferred to a later date, after a St Endas player tested positive for Covid-19, days before the game.

Management and players at Clanns only became aware of the infected player on Friday 21 August through a media report, just two days before they were expected to play the game against St Enda’s.

The player is understood to have tested positive for the virus on August 19, and had trained with St Enda’s as recently as August 16, just one week ahead of the scheduled game. St Enda’s informed Clanns that the player in question was in self-isolation, and that other players on the team were cleared to play the game by the HSE as they were deemed as ‘casual contacts’.

Despite this, Clanns players raised concerns about playing a team who had been in contact with the player just days beforehand, with the team given only 36 hours to gather the facts and consider the risks and implications.

It is understood that while Ballyboden St Enda’s were agreeable to a deferral following discussions, the Dublin County Board were not amenable to a rescheduling of the game. Clanns formally submitted a case for deferral to the Board, as they felt unable to fulfil the fixture due to the circumstances.

Bernard Barron, Clanna Gael Fontenoy Chairman, said: “Given the particular circumstances of this case, including the short time frame for consideration, our players had real and understandable concerns for their safety and health and that of their families and communities.

Bernard Barron

“As a result, we simply sought a deferral of the fixture to a later date to allow a longer period of time to elapse after the infected player’s last point of contact with his fellow Ballyboden players. This would have been in line with the deferral of matches involving other Dublin clubs due to Covid-19 concerns.”

“Our players daily face a level of Covid-19 related risk in the lives they lead and the work they do; and they knowingly accept a level of risk in order to continue playing the game of hurling. They continuously balance their desire to play with that risk.

“However, their judgement, supported by the Club, was that in this particular instance that level of risk should have been further ameliorated by deferring the fixture for a short period of time. We believe this would have been in the interests not just of all players and team officials involved, but their wider contacts and communities.

“We very much regret that the Dublin County Board didn’t see things this way; and our players consider they’ve unfairly paid a price for playing it safe.”

The Dublin County Board have been contacted for comment.

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