ANTRIM’S final Allianz Football League Division Four game against Waterford won’t go ahead with the Munster county conceding a walkover over Covid-19 concerns.
The game had been scheduled for Saturday at Kelly Park, Portglenone at 2pm, but Waterford had contacted the Antrim county board seeking an alternative venue.
Antrim were understandably reluctant to move the game to a neutral venue in the South, but offered to move the game to a Belfast venue.
However, the Waterford football panel issued a statement early this morning.
Waterford GAA Statement pic.twitter.com/RvnW8cEt9p— Waterford GAA (@WaterfordGAA) October 22, 2020
"Unfortunately, having weighed up all the options and having regard to the genuine concern of our players, we had no choice but to concede our final league match versus Antrim this weekend," the statement read.
"This is not a decision that we have taken lightly, particularly given the fact that our game versus London scheduled last weekend also fell victim to the Covid-19 crisis, which puts us in a very vulnerable position going into the first round of the championship versus Limerick on Saturday, October 31, given that they will have had the opportunity of having played two league games.”
The statement also added that the decision was taken in light of a number of players withdrawing from the squad citing personal family circumstances and “reservations within the playing group of travelling to the Belfast area” while the statement also claimed some of the panel would be required to isolate for 14 days by their employers after traveling to "Northern Ireland."
Such requirements are not necessary under Covid-19 restrictions in the North of Ireland or in the Republic.
The upshot of the decision means that Antrim move to the top of the Division Four standings ahead of the remaining two fixtures on Saturday.
However, they’ll be hoping Sligo can claim a win over Limerick in Markievicz Park coupled with win in the other game as Wexford host league-leaders Wicklow.
A draw at Wexford Park means at least three teams will be level on points and Antrim’s scoring difference took a hammering last weekend when they lost by 25 points to Wicklow in Aughrim.
It also leaves Antrim without a game before their Ulster Senior Football Championship opener against either Cavan or Monaghan on Saturday, November 7.