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back in action Thousands across Ireland set to attend pilot sporting events this week

Spectators will have to wear masks and adhere to social distancing rules as trial events kick off this Friday.

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The RDS in Dublin will host Leinster rugby game on Friday. Photo: AFP/Getty

The RDS in Dublin will host Leinster rugby game on Friday. Photo: AFP/Getty

The RDS in Dublin will host Leinster rugby game on Friday. Photo: AFP/Getty

Thousands of sports fans will attend the first pilot sporting events this Friday, including a Leinster rugby game and a Shamrock Rovers vs Finn Harps match.

Friday June 11 will see 1,200 rugby fans attend the RDS in the evening for Leinster’s game against the Welsh Dragons, while Tallaght Stadium will host Shamrock Rovers and Finn Harps with similar numbers.

Also on Friday evening, Cork City will play Cabinteely at Turner’s Cross stadium in Cork in a League of Ireland match.

Sixteen further trial events have been announced, including a Shamrock Rovers vs Dundalk FC game in July, an Ireland vs Japan rugby match in the Aviva, and a possible horse racing event in the Curragh.

A number of measures have been introduced to ensure these pilot events run smoothly, including contact tracing systems, reduced capacities in venues, and physical distancing.

Spectators will need to wear masks for the duration of each event. They will also be seated and socially distanced from other fans.

Each attendee will have a ticket that will record their details, which will be kept for up to 28 days, in case contact tracing is needed after the event.

The pilot events will later be reviewed with the aim of increasing capacity in July and August.

Minister for Sport and the Gaeltacht Jack Chambers said: “I am acutely aware how eager fans are to see their home county, local club or sporting heroes in action one again.

“These expert-led guidelines are significant because they chart a clear path back to allowing large numbers of spectators attends games once again.

“The guidelines can be continuously reviewed after each pilot event and will ultimately pave the way for much greater numbers to attend sporting events as we progress into summer and autumn.”

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