Rugby season grinds to a halt
After a couple of weeks of pre-season promise Navan, Ashbourne, North Meath, Athboy and Ratoath have had their rugby campaigns halted almost before they even began with the government removing exemptions for club championship games from their Level 3 restrictions.
The IRFU confirmed that the Energia Community Series has been suspended with immediate effect.
The Community Series was organised as a workaround for the All-Ireland League, avoiding the need for clubs to travel across provincial lines and instead playing teams closer to home.
However, the rise in Covid-19 cases across the island has brought about increased restrictions which impacts domestic rugby.
The IRFU sought clarity from governments in both Northern Ireland and the Republic on the status of amateur rugby, and the Northern Ireland Executive advised that ‘no organised contact sport involving household mixing other than at elite level’ should take place.
The IRFU statement continues:
“On October 14th 2020, the Government of Ireland removed the exemption for club championship matches from Level 3 of their Plan for Living with COVID-19. The Energia Community Series is no longer exempt from Level 3 training and match restrictions.
“As a result the Energia Community Series is suspended in all four provinces with immediate effect until further notice.”
Clubs in Level 3 and 4 areas will now be limited to non-contact training in pods of 15 people.