Church of Ireland stage protest ahead of men's hockey cup tie

Church of Ireland stage protest ahead of men's hockey cup tie

Members of the Church of Ireland men's senior hockey team wearing masks as they stand in protest, ahead of tip-off, at having to travel to Dublin to play Portrane in an Irish Senior Cup game.

LAST Saturday Church of Ireland men's senior hockey team stood in protest at having to travel to Dublin for their Irish Senior Cup clash with Portrane.

They stood with masks on as they showed their objection to Hockey Ireland's decision that the cup games, along with EY Irish Hockey League games were all to go ahead.

Had they opted to not travel they would have been thrown out of the competition and could also have been fined up to €750 and also faced possible suspension.

Their protest is one of many led by themselves and Cork Harlequins, along with some clubs from the other provinces at having to travel during the current pandemic.

On Saturday their women's side was also due to travel to take on Corinthian in the women's equivalent but opted not to travel.

Former president of Church of Ireland Hockey Club, Mervyn Kerr, who has a daughter on that team, said: “They took the decision not to travel on health grounds. Some members of the squad are frontline workers and they did not want to put them at further risk than they are already.

“A member of the squad has already tested positive and is unlikely to return to playing this side of Christmas, so with that in mind they opted not to travel and the club has backed this decision.

“Our men's side took the option to travel under protest, but were not happy at having to do so and at this stage as the numbers continue to rise. Hockey Ireland need to have a serious look at what they are doing and should postpone all games for now,” concluded Mervyn.

Harlequins had two sides also due to travel last Saturday, their women to Belfast for an EY Irish Hockey League game and their men to Dublin for an Irish Senior Cup tie with Railway Union.

The men opted not to travel and are awaiting confirmation that they will be thrown out of the cup, which they were informed in advance would be the most likely scenario in an email from Hockey Ireland.

Their women looked for a postponement of their game, which was not granted and they now wait to see what happens having refused to travel. Cork Harlequins had the backing of their opponents, Belfast Harlequins, who had no issue with the game being postponed.

Hockey Ireland has informed all clubs in recent weeks that both the league and cup are in the senior club championship category of sport and are allowed to go ahead under the current guidelines.

But the clubs feel it's not save to travel and all now wait to see what is going to happen in the coming days and what sanctions they will face from Hockey Ireland.

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