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“A devastating blow for everyone” — Steven Poacher on underage championship halted

Down minor football coach reacts to the decision that underage championship have been paused during the new Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions

Down minor football Steven Poacher reacts to the decision that underage championship have been paused during the new Level five Covid-19 restrictions.

Down minor football coach Steven Poacher says it is a “devastating blow for everyone” that the underage championships have been paused until further notice.

Reports emerged on Wednesday morning that the competitions were to be suspended with the county now in level five of the lockdown measures, and the situation has since been clarified by the association.

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The GAA has put out a statement saying:

“Following clarification from the Department of Sport around the staging of inter-county fixtures, the GAA can confirm that as of midnight this evening (Wednesday), all minor and U20 inter-county competitions are paused until further notice.

“Accordingly, Saturday’s scheduled EirGrid GAA U20 football final meeting of Dublin and Galway will not take place. 

“This evening’s Bord Gáis Energy Leinster U20 hurling fixtures will proceed. 

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“Additionally, the GAA’s CCCC has been informed that Longford will not be fulfilling their Allianz Football League fixture with Cork this weekend.”

Poacher, who is a coach in James McCartan’s Down minor football set-up, was at a training session last night as their side prepared for a weekend clash with Fermanagh.

The Mourne County took their first session approximately one year ago, but have played just one competitive match across what has been a disjointed season due to Covid-19.

Poacher says the move is “contradictory” and “a crushing blow”, adding that the “scaremongering is poison”.

Last weekend, the Meath minors beat Dublin while Cavan were beaten by Monaghan, but the future of those competitions are once more up in the air.

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In the Leinster Under-20 hurling championship, Antrim v Dublin, Laois v Carlow, and Offaly v Westmeath will all go ahead this evening before the competitions are halted from tonight.

Dublin v Galway were due to face each other in the All-Ireland Under-20 final this weekend, and that will not now be played.

Click play on the video at the top of the page to watch the discussion.

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