BASKETBALL Ireland has announced the new national league season is on hold, just two days before it was due to begin.
Seven matches had already been postponed ahead of this weekend, four in the Men’s Super League, two in Women’s Division 1, and another in Men’s Division 1.
A statement from Basketball Ireland explained:
"The 2020/21 National League basketball season has been halted with immediate effect. The Super League and Division 1 seasons were due to start this weekend.
"It follows a meeting of the Sport Expert Group, which confirmed that last night’s restrictions by the government will result in senior national competitions being stopped.
"Basketball Ireland was informed through Sport Ireland of the Sport Expert Group’s decision. No senior national competition permitted is now permitted in Level 3.
"Basketball Ireland CEO, Bernard O’Byrne, said “This news has reached us this evening and while naturally disappointed that we can’t start our season, we fully understand the decision made by the Sport Expert Group, in light of the latest government restrictions.
"We are still awaiting the detail of the decision, but we will now work together with Sport Ireland and our National League clubs over the coming days to make a plan for 2020/21 season.”
Apart from elite teams, indoor training was already prohibited for basketball clubs underage and at local level.
Earlier on Thursday, the high-profile Super League basketball clash between Tradehouse Central Ballincollig and Garvey's Tralee Warriors scheduled for Saturday has been called off.
The showdown between last season's runners-up and newly-promoted Ballincollig is gone from the opening round of fixtures, along with NUIG Maree versus Moycullen BC.
In the South Conference Keane’s SuperValu Killorglin were due to host Coughlan C and S Neptune, who are now coached by Colin O'Reilly.
Already, defending Men’s Super League champions Belfast Star’s opening three matches had been postponed, along with DCU St Vincent’s games until round four.
Defending champions DCU Mercy were supposed to be tipping off their season against Trinity Meteors, who won the Division 1 title last season and feature Cork's Edel Thornton.
Last season’s Women’s Super League runners-up, The Address UCC Glanmire, have recruited the likes of Claire Rockall and Claire Melia, and their first South Conference game was due to be against Marble City Hawks at the Mardyke Arena.
The other two fixtures in the South Conference were Fr Mathew's hosting Team Garvey’s St Mary’s and Waterford Wildcats facing Singleton SuperValu Brunell at Mercy Gym.
Fr Mathew's men's team are in Division 1, where they should have been playing WIT Waterford.