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Derry club championships go ahead as scheduled

Clubs will who can't fulfill fixtures will be forced to concede

The John McLaughlin Cup (Pic: Mary K Burke)

The John McLaughlin Cup (Pic: Mary K Burke)

The club football and hurling championships will go ahead as planned, it has been confirmed.

Speculation was mounting over the feasibility of the club championships at the weekend, after 10 clubs suspended their senior activities following positive cases of Covid-19.

Banagher and Craigbane acted first, on Thursday night, before they were joined by Ardmore, Limavady, Drumsurn, Magilligan, Glack, Foreglen, Claudy and Drum followed suit. Drum have extended their cessation of activities until Monday, July 27.

“This is a matter for the organising committee, in this instance Derry GAA, to manage as they see fit,” said Alan Milton, the GAA's Director of Communications, while also saying it was discussed with counties on a conference call last week.

The GAA has returned to games activity on the principle of 'opt-in' added Declan Woods, Ulster GAA's PRO.

“Given the uncertainties that exist around Covid-19, each county has been asked to draft Competition Rules to deal with potential scenarios.”

Derry have indicated that their championships, starting with Saturday's hurling clash of Banagher and Coleraine will go ahead.

"Games will he played as scheduled,” a Derry board spokesperson told the County Derry Post.

With no movement away from the scheduled date and if a club cannot fulfill a fixture due to issues surrounding Covid-19, the game will be awarded to the opposition team without any further penalty being imposed.

Of the 10 clubs who stood down at the weekend, Banagher were 'advised' one of their members has been confirmed as positive for the virus. It is understood to be a player and the club moved by insisting all their players get tested.

“We resume training on Wednesday night,” outlined senior hurling manager John O'Dwyer.

“Only players who come back with a negative test will be permitted to train or to play in Saturday's game with Coleraine.”

The former Derry camogie manager, who won back to back Ulster titles with the county's hurlers, feels the GAA should pull the pin on the season.

“For the sake of five games, they should have forgot about it and started again in January. For us in Banagher, we did everything according to plan and it takes a lot of effort to go through with the procedures.

“For us, there is just not enough gain. If I wasn't the manager, I would be nowhere near it. Someone at a higher level should've made the decision to call off the season.”

Grab this week's County Derry Post for previews of this weekend's hurling games.

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