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Shutdown is bad timing for Malahide on two fronts

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Don Butler

Don Butler

Don Butler

Malahide United chairman Don Butler has admitted that there is huge disappointment amongst players and officials following the suspension of all club activity due to the coronavirus - but was quick to acknowledge that people's safety is the main concern right now.

The Gannon Park outfit have been enjoying a stellar season to date and currently sit on top of the Senior Sunday division in the Leinster Senior League, having put together an unbeaten run which dates back to September.

There was also an FAI Intermediate Cup semi-final to look forward to against St Mochta's, but for now all bets are off until the coronavirus can be contained sufficiently.

Butler said protecting people from the virus is all that matters and the decision to suspend all matches until at least March 29th was fully justified.

'Listen, we have had a magnificent season to date and we are currently sitting pretty at the top of the league, so the news probably hurt us a bit more than some other clubs.

'We were all looking forward to a mouth-watering FAI Intermediate semi-final next week against St Mochta's, but the suspension of all games has put paid to that and now it's just a case of sitting back and hoping that the people in charge can stop the spread of this virus.

'At the end of the day football is just a game and what's going on with this virus is so much more important. There are lives at risk here and we as a club are only too happy to follow all government guidelines to help stop the spread of this virus.

'It is unfortunate timing for us as a club as we were all set to welcome Poland to Gannon Park this summer for the European Championships. We were going to be the host club for Poland and up to 150 journalists were planning on staying in Malahide for the duration of the national team's stay here.

'The team were due to stay in the Portmarnock Links Hotel and then use Gannon Park as their training base, but from the noise coming out of Uefa that looks unlikely to happen now.

'It's a great shame for the club as well as the restaurants, hotels, bed & breakfasts and shops which would have benefited from all the people staying locally ahead of the Euros.

'With regards to the league and cups, we are still hopeful that the competitions will be finished off this season. At this stage the best outcome I feel would be to get the games all done by June or even July, but that is all guesswork really as nobody really knows how long this crisis is going to last.

'The players are obviously very disappointed to have their season interrupted, given how well they have been going, but they are good lads and although they won't be able to train together I'm sure most of them will keep themselves ticking over with runs on the beach or in parks to keep themselves in shape.

'But as I said earlier, none of this really matters in the grand scheme of things as this is a very serious matter and we are 100% behind the government's recommendations.

'We will wait patiently until we hear any further updates, but in the meantime we will follow guidelines and be ready when the decision is made to start playing again.'

Fingal Independent