Hockey Ireland has confirmed – in conjunction with the provincial branches – that all local hockey activity will cease until March 29th at the earliest due to the ongoing coronavirus situation.
In a statement announcing the decision, a Hockey Ireland said it has “noted the announcement by An Taoiseach this morning that some measures will come into effect from tomorrow morning until the 29th March 2020, with schools, colleges and childcare facilities closing from tomorrow (Friday 13th March).
“The Hockey Ireland Board, after consultation with its branches, has decided the following in the interest of the health and safety of the hockey community and all people on the island of Ireland:
- Hockey Ireland together with its four provincial branches are suspending all hockey activity with immediate effect until the 29th March 2020 and is directing all clubs and schools to do the same. All hockey activity including training and education across clubs and schools must now cease. We understand that this decision is disappointing to all hockey players, coaches, officials, volunteers, and supporters, but in light of the circumstances, Hockey Ireland believes this is in our members’ best interests.
- The above will not apply to the Senior Women’s team, who are in preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
- Alternative arrangements for league and cup matches will be reviewed by Hockey Ireland in coming weeks and decisions will be communicated as appropriate.
- The Hockey Ireland offices are situated on the UCD campus which will be closing this evening, and from tomorrow, 13th March, all staff will be operating from their homes. We apologise for this disruption, however staff continue to have access to our server remotely and are set up to respond to emails as usual.”
Among the first victims of the cancelation were Loreto and UCD’s Jacqui Potter Cup semi-final where players were in situ in Beaufort ahead of their Thursday night fixture.
A similar situation occurred at the Bangor Aurora where Bangor were due to take on Ballynahinch in the Ulster men’s Premier League.
Leinster’s annual St Patrick’s Day festival – set for next Tuesday – is also off the agenda.
There was further bad news for both Pegasus and Loreto whose respective European competitions were cancelled on Thursday afternoon.
Pegs were set to take part in the potentially ground-breaking first EHL Women’s competition in Amsterdam over Easter while Loreto were bound for Sant Cugat in Spain for the Euro Trophy but both placed “on hold” with a review of whether they can be refixed in due course.