Galway club left fuming by rescheduling of county semi-final

September 26, 2020

Adrian Varley, Cortoon Shamrocks and Galway. ©INPHO/Brian Reilly-Troy.

Cortoon Shamrocks in Galway have been left fuming by the rescheduling of their county IFC semi-final against Dunmore McHales for tomorrow.

The clash had originally been due to take place last Sunday but was called off just hours before throw-in after Cortoon captain Adrian Varley, a primary school teacher, was notified of a confirmed case of Covid-19 among his students.

Varley had been advised to self-isolate and has since tested negative for Covid-19. However, he must self-isolate for 14 days as his last contact with the affected student came on Wednesday 16 September, forcing the county senior panellist to miss the refixture.

In a statement issued online, the Cortoon club pleaded for the fixture to be played on Wednesday 30 September or next weekend having met with county board and Dunmore representatives this week but to no avail.

They said: "The Cortoon Shamrocks GAA club would like to clarify the events of the last week in relation to the postponement of the 2020 Intermediate semi final v Dunmore McHales and to express our disappointment on how the situation was handled."

"Our intermediate team were due to play the semi final of the Galway intermediate football championship against Dunmore McHales last Sunday 20th September at 2pm in Tuam stadium. On the morning of the game, one of our players, Adrian Varley, a primary school teacher, received a telephone call informing him that one of his students had tested positive for Covid 19 and he was told he must self isolate immediately and that he would be tested over the next few days. He immediately contacted the Club team manager and Galway Senior football team doctor to pass on this information.

"The club then contacted the county board to make them aware of the situation and to request the postponement of the game as the player in question was in close contact with a number of other panel members including a family member in the days prior to this call. As a club we could not go ahead with this game and risk the health and wellbeing of our players, the opposition players or any of the other officials or individuals who would be attending the game. We were very surprised that the Galway county board advised us that the game must still go ahead despite our concerns over the welfare of all involved. As a club we had to make a decision not to field a team on health and safety grounds and we informed the county board of this decision.

"The player has since been tested for Covid 19 & he received a negative result. We sought clarification on when he could return to play and we were eventually informed that it would be 14 days from his last contact with his student on Wednesday 16thSeptember. Therefore we expected our rescheduled semi final to be arranged for at least 14 days after this date which would be next Wednesday 30th September.

"The game has since been fixed for this Sunday 27th September. When we were informed of the rescheduled fixture, we requested a meeting with the County Board and Dunmore representatives to seek a resolution which would allow for our player to take part in the fixture taking into consideration that he acted in line with all recommendations laid down by the HSE.

"This meeting took place yesterday evening 24th September. Unfortunately, the Dunmore McHales representative would not under any circumstances agree to the fixture being moved back by 3 days to Wednesday 30th September to allow the player to take part. As an agreement couldn’t be reached between the two clubs, the Galway County Board insisted that the game must proceed this Sunday 27th September.

"The Cortoon club sees no reason why the semi-final cannot be refixed for Wednesday 30th or the weekend of October 3rd as has happened in other counties.

"Adrian has acted with the utmost honesty and integrity since being informed of the news last Sunday morning. As a teacher he is performing an essential service for the public and he can now not take part in Sunday's game having trained since last November to try and captain his team to a county final. We feel this is a very unfair way to treat a player who has acted at all times in compliance with the guidelines from the HSE.

"Outlined on the GAA website under mission, vision and values, there are words mentioned such as “player welfare”, “respect”, “opportunity to participate fully”. Our club has had player welfare to the forefront of all decisions we have made but we feel we have not been treated with respect and our player has not been given the opportunity to participate which goes totally against the bedrock of the GAA organisation.

"We ask the County Board and the Dunmore McHales Club to reconsider their position given the unprecedented circumstances surrounding the pandemic and in the interest of fair play."

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