Covid-19 case forces Offaly hurlers to forfeit Christy Ring Cup opener

‘Almost every member’ of the panel has been deemed a close contact of the player who tested positive.

The hurlers of Offaly and Kildare were due to clash at Bord na Móna O’Connor Park on Saturday afternoon.
The hurlers of Offaly and Kildare were due to clash at Bord na Móna O’Connor Park on Saturday afternoon.
Image: Tom Beary/INPHO

OFFALY WON’T BE fulfilling this weekend’s Christy Ring Cup fixture against Kildare, with the Lilywhites to receive a walkover.

It comes after an Offaly GAA statement issued this evening confirmed that a member of the county’s senior hurling panel tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday.

The unnamed individual hadn’t trained since 13 October, but Offaly say that “almost every member” of the panel has been considered a close contact by the HSE. The players must subsequently isolate until 27 October.

“Offaly GAA County Board officers have liaised with GAA officials in Croke Park since this issue arose on Wednesday afternoon,” the statement explained.

“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.”

Offaly and Kildare were scheduled to meet in the opening round of the Christy Ring Cup at Bord na Móna O’Connor Park in Tullamore on Saturday afternoon. However, Michael Fennelly’s side will now be relying on the back-door route. 

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The statement added: “We hope to participate in the second round of the Christy Ring Cup on the weekend of 7/8 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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