Offaly have handed a walkover to Kildare after the majority of the Faithful panel was considered close contacts of a positive Covid case.
Michael Fennelly’s men were set to play the Lilywhites on Saturday, and had hoped to either line out with a depleted side or be granted a postponement.
Croke Park denied the latter request due to the short time-frame of the championship, although the Faithful do hope to participate in the second round of the Christy Ring Cup on the weekend of 7/8 November.
The statement from Offaly GAA reads:
“Offaly GAA regret that it will not be possible for our senior hurlers to fulfil the Christy Ring Cup fixture against Kildare this Saturday.
“The HSE has deemed almost every member of the Offaly panel as a ‘close contact’ of a player with Covid-19.
“The player tested positive on Wednesday, October 21, and has not taken any part with the squad since October 13.
“As a result, the remainder of the panel have been obliged to self-isolate and are unavailable for selection for 14 days (until October 27).
“Offaly GAA County Board officers have liaised with GAA officials in Croke Park since this issue arose on Wednesday afternoon.
“Our preferred option was for a postponement of the game, but we understand that this course of action is not possible as all GAA Championships must be completed in a short timeframe.
“We hope to participate in the second round of the Christy Ring Cup on the weekend of 7/8 November, when the players who are self-isolating will hopefully be available.
“They are currently availing of the GAA’s rapid testing facility.
“Offaly GAA wish to stress that we would be prepared to participate in Saturday’s game with a depleted squad. However, it is simply not feasible with over 25 players ruled out.
“We also wish to emphasise that the County Board, team management, players and backroom staff have followed HSE and GAA guidelines in relation to Covid-19 at all times, and had expected that the panel members would have been deemed ‘casual contacts’ rather than ‘close contacts’ of the one player with Covid-19.
“Finally, Offaly GAA accept that this is short notice for our opponents ahead of Saturday’s fixture, but wish to assure Kildare that since this matter arose on Wednesday afternoon, we have been working tirelessly to avoid this unfortunate situation whereby the game cannot proceed as fixed.”
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