Longford clubs in state of limbo with Covid still hitting sport hard

July probably the earliest opportunity to complete unfinished 2020 County SFC

Padraic O'Brien

Reporter:

Padraic O'Brien

Email:

padraig.obrien@longfordleader.ie

longford gaa

Cormac Smyth on the ball for Abbeylara in his bid to evade the challenge of Mostrim opponent Tiarnan Hussey. Action from the last game to be played in the 2020 SFC on Sunday September 20

While the focus is firmly fixed on what happens next for the inter-county footballers and hurlers with collective training not permitted at the moment and the probable halt to the start of the 2021 National Leagues (possibly until the end of March), the clubs in Longford continue to reside in a state of limbo.

Local sport has suffered severe disruption since the outbreak of the chaotic coronavirus pandemic that brought about the first of the lockdowns last March.

 The despair inflicted upon Longford Rugby Club, in particular, springs to mind with no fixtures played in the Leinster League this season and any chance of a possible return to competitive action in the 2020/'21 campaign looking very slim indeed. 

At least the GAA clubs in the county got the opportunity to field for a couple of months during the summer of 2020 but Covid had not gone away and the decision was eventually taken to suspend all remaining competitions in early October.

As it turned out the last Longford GAA club fixture to be played was the win for Wolfe Tones Mostrim against Longford Slashers in the Senior Hurling Championship final on Sunday October 4.

The Senior Football Championship semi-finals (Mullinalaghta v Longford Slashers and Killoe v Mostrim; the Intermediate Football Championship final (Ardagh Moydow v Killashee) and the concluding stages of the Junior Football Championship are at a standstill since the end of September and no sign of a resumption.

The split season means that the 2020 Connolly Cup cannot be completed until the 2021 campaign ends for the county senior football squad so July would appear to be the earliest opportunity.

There is a possibility that the Intermediate final could be played in April/May, along with the completion of the Junior Championship, but that all depends on the curve of the coronavirus which continues to be a cause for serious concern amid the rampant number of positive cases.

 A return to Level 2 restrictions under the Living with Covid plan will need to materialise for any club action to resume and it is all very frustrating indeed.

The County Board plan  to start the 2021 County Championships in August (same as last year) and hopefully at that stage the remaining 2020 competitions will have concluded.

Covid permitting, the provincial club  championships will return later in the year after  getting  binned in 2020.

There is also some unfinished business in ladies football with Ballymore waiting  to play the 2020 Leinster Club Junior Championship final against Kilmore (Wexford) in the aftermath of their brilliant win over Dublin opponents Ballinteer St John’s at the Ballybrien grounds back on October 3.

 The Longford ladies football squad will be competing in Division 3 of the Lidl National League this year, which is scheduled to start on the first weekend in March, but that is highly unlikely to happen with all the uncertainty over the Covid-19 crisis.