In a statement issued on Thursday by Hockey Ireland, all hockey matches are to cease until further notice. The Board of Hockey Ireland met to discuss the postponement of matches on an all-Ireland basis due to “the Irish government announcing the removal of the exemption for senior club championships to be played in Level 3 of the Living with Covid-19 plan”.

Both the UCD ladies’ and men’s teams have played three games in their respective leagues. The UCD ladies team were scheduled to play Muckross HC this weekend while the the UCD men’s team were set to begin their Neville Cup campaign against Clontarf HC.

This will not affect teams who play in League 3 and below as they were already not eligible to start their season after it was deemed they were “non-elite,” and that this would be in the best interests of conforming to Covid-19 guidelines. Training can still proceed for all hockey teams, however these training sessions are strictly “subject to Hockey Ireland protocols and restrictions, and any restrictions that may apply locally”.

This statement comes after last month Hockey Ireland was put under pressure by Cork clubs (Harlequins, Cork C of I and UCC) which informed the body that they would be refusing to travel to the capital to play their games whilst it was in Level 3.

Hockey Ireland finished their statement with an acknowledgement to the work of the clubs behind the scenes and recognises the time and energy put into preparation for these games. However, “[They] must endeavour to keep club hockey activity going whilst we continue to observe Covid-19 guidelines and hopefully, we can resume competition soon”.

Laoise Murray – Sports Writer