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covid clash Dublin v Galway All-Ireland U20 football final falls victim to Level 5 restrictions

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Dublin's Brian O'Leary and Matthew McCusker of Tyrone during last weekend's All-Ireland U20 Championship Semi-Final

Dublin's Brian O'Leary and Matthew McCusker of Tyrone during last weekend's All-Ireland U20 Championship Semi-Final

SPORTSFILE

Dublin's Brian O'Leary and Matthew McCusker of Tyrone during last weekend's All-Ireland U20 Championship Semi-Final

THE ill-fated EirGrid All-Ireland U20 football championship has been stopped in its tracks once again by Covid-19.

The bombshell news that all underage inter-county GAA cannot proceed from midnight tonight will come as a particular blow to the Dublin and Galway U20 footballers ahead of Saturday's scheduled All-Ireland final in Portlaoise.

Even though Croke Park has yet to make any official announcement, Galway GAA chairman Pat Kearney confirmed this morning that the U20 decider has been pulled – although it may be played at a future date whenever the public health scenario improves sufficiently.

“The U20 match fixed for Saturday evening if off,” Kearney told Galway Bay FM. “We just got confirmation from Croke Park there 20 minutes ago. The game is off, and the minor and U20 championship is called off.

“The intention would be that the U20 final will be played at some stage - it’s a health issue, we can do nothing about it,” he added.

Despite some confusion as attempts were made to clarify matters, it now appears clear that there will be no U20 or U17 inter-county championship matches from midnight tonight.

The coronavirus pandemic has meant the two squads have already endured a seven-month wait for their semi-finals, which eventually took place last Saturday with Dublin edging past Tyrone and Galway overcoming Kerry.

The two managers, Dublin’s Tom Gray and Galway’s Donal Ó Fátharta, were due to participate in a virtual press conference today.

However, it was confirmed this morning by the PR company involved that the preview event had been postponed “due to the GAA awaiting confirmation from the government on underage level football”.

In the aftermath of Saturday’s two-point win over Tyrone in Kingspan Breffni Park, Gray had been asked about the uncertainty of preparing for an All-Ireland final still shrouded in doubt.

“Look, it will either be on or it won’t be on – there’s nothing we can do about that,” the Dublin boss responded. “We’ll go training Tuesday and training Thursday. If the match is fixed we’ll play on Saturday. If it’s not, we won’t.

“From a personal point of view, having young fellas out in the open air, playing football, at this time of the year is very good for their physical and mental health,” he expanded.


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