THE SECRETARY of the Donegal Competitions’ Controls Committee (CCC) has said the reason the Donegal SFC was initially confirmed for this weekend was because they were not aware of a player being positive Covid case.
Eyebrows were raised on Monday evening following a meeting of the CCC that this Sunday’s showpiece between Kilcar and Naomh Conaill was to go ahead despite a positive case in the Towney-based club.
Kilcar are understood to have written to the Donegal County Board following a meeting of their executive on Monday night. Then, the CCC met again on Tuesday and announced the final would be moved to Wednesday, October 7, as Ed Byrne explained to Donegal Sport Hub.
“At 2:30pm on Monday we were unaware of any problems and were working away on preparing got the final,” he said.
“Initially, when we set the fixture, we are required to give 120 hours’ minimum notice to clubs for championship games. So, on Monday when we made the decision to fix the county final, we had heard many unconfirmed reports and rumours that there was a case. It was just another rumour and there have been many of them throughout the championship.
“Once we got further information that came through, so we set about trying to get confirmation about what we were hearing, on the Tuesday we made the decision that we would postpone the final having turn had the full information.
“The decision was made then to postpone for a number of reasons – the health or our communities, we felt that if we allowed the county final to go ahead the identity of the person would become widely known, not only him but anyone who has had to self-isolate and anyone who was in close contact would then become identifiable. That was something we weren’t prepared to do.”
Although Byrne portrayed his disappointment at the fixture not going ahead as planned, he was sympathetic toward the plight of those involved and says the postponement is a vital part of the precaution that is necessary in society at present.
“We are genuinely gutted and upset that our premier fixture is lost this weekend,” he added. “Donegal isn’t in a great place and we’re conscious of that. It really is a cause of regret – through no fault of the clubs – that we stumbled at the last hurdle. It’s a heavy price for all of those who worked so hard during the championship have to pay.
“But at the end of the day the priority must be the health of our players and our communities. Our thoughts are with the families of those involved – nobody intentionally goes out to intentionally pick up the virus. This is not a players’ fault. It’s just where we are as a society and we have to take every precaution to minimize the risk.”
In Donegal this weekend, the IFC final between Cloughaneely and Aodh Ruadh is due to be played in Letterkenny on Saturday, with a JFC semi-final meeting of St Mary’s Convoy and Letterkenny Gaels later that evening in Ballybofey. On Sunday, Dungloe take on Milford in the SFC relegation play-off at Glenswilly.
“There are other games on and we are monitoring everything very closely,” Byrne added. “The risk for the county final was higher, with the positive case and the isolation, so that’s why it was pulled.”