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Sporting fixtures fall foul of coronavirus outbreak

A number of fixtures have been postponed indefinitely

Sporting fixtures throughout the county are postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Government announced last Thursday morning that schools, creches and colleges would be closed until March 29th.

The Government also recommended that indoor events with over 100 people, and outdoor events with over 500 people be cancelled.

Basketball Ireland got in there first, announcing on Wednesday night that they were 'instructing all affiliates to suspend all basketball competitions and events with immediate effect'.

Derry City announced early on Thursday that their fixture versus Sligo Rovers at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium, which was scheduled to take place on Friday night, was postponed. They later deleted the post on social media site Twitter in which they made this announcement.

But, later on Thursday evening the FAI released a statement detailing the postponement of all activities until March 29th.

"The decision has been taken in light of the growing threat posed by the COVID-19 outbreak and in the best interests of our players, coaches, volunteers, supporters and staff. This decision will be monitored on an ongoing basis," the statement read.

All athletics events nationally were cancelled, before the GAA also announced that there was a blanket ban on all fixtures until March 29th.

The Sligo senior footballers were due to travel to Carlow on Sunday in Division 4, while the Sligo hurlers were scheduled to take on Leitrim in the Division 3B final at Hyde Park.

As of yesterday, Dublin, Galway and Limerick GAA had all cancelled club matches for the month of April.

In the midst of the schools closures, Sligo GAA coaches have been busy sending out videos with handy advice and tips for children at home to keep up their fitness levels and practice skills when they are off school.

Pat Kilcoyne has been sending coaching videos to club managers dedicated to the U10s.

He sends out videos of skills so that the club managers can then send on to parents to make sure children are practising their skills when they are off school.

Pat also uploads them on Twitter and the reaction has been extremely popular from parents as it's a great way to keep children active during the long days with no school.

Meanwhile, all junior soccer fixtures were postponed on Thursday afternoon, following this statement from the Connacht FA.

"Further to confirmation today by the Government announcement that all schools across the country will close until March 29th 2020, and as the situation with Covid-19 is developing rapidly, the Connacht FA in consultation with its stakeholders and in the interest of Health & Safety of all our affiliates have taken the following decision.

"The Connacht Football Association is instructing all Youth and Junior affiliated Leagues to suspend all Football activities with immediate effect until at least March 29th 2020.

"We understand the decision will bring disruption to all our leagues, clubs, players and coaches, but we feel in these extraordinary times, we have to act now."

The SFAI later announcement the postponement of all youths fixtures until further notice.

Sligo RFC were due to travel to Dungannon on Saturday for their AIL fixture, but all domestic rugby games were postponed until March 29th while the PRO14 has been suspended indefinitely.

One sport that people can continue to play amid the Covid-19 outbreak is golf.

The Golf Union of Ireland and the Irish Ladies Golf Union said however that golfers need to be mindful about social distancing and so forth.

"Golf is a great sport for people generally to get out and about, exercise and enjoy fresh air.

"It is played in an outdoor setting where the risk of contracting COVID-19 is low. All golf clubs should, at this time, aim to keep their members and staff safe and well.

"The Unions recognise the need for adherence to the revised guidelines as issued by the HSE and encourage golf clubs to observe them fully.

"The restrictions do not prevent club competitions or casual rounds of golf taking place, however we need to be cognisant of the social nature of our game and how this element of it is impacted," they said in a statement.

The GUI and ILGU have taken some measures to reduce risk to competitors and have cancelled or postponed events that are deemed to be unnecessary gatherings during the period of restriction.

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