WITH under three weeks to go to the opening round of the Cork Senior camogie championship there are changes already as divisional sides Carbery announced on Friday that they would not now be participating.
The decision which was not an easy one comes in the wake of a number of GAA clubs in the Carbery division having to suspend all activities as a result of a potential Covid-19 case.
The precaution has being taken following players coming into contact with an individual last weekend who has since tested positive for the virus.
The shutdown was ordered as per the GAA’s return to play protocols, which state all further activity must be stopped in all sections of the clubs until public health contact tracers carry out full close contact assessment.
Whilst the Carbery camogie division advised there are none of their players directly involved in this, they made the decision to withdraw from the senior championship in the interest of the health and safety of the clubs and all the families of players who would be lining out with the Carbery side.
Carbery were to play a club on Monday in a challenge but the club contacted them and said they would not be playing as they would be worried given the situation in the division at present and this prompted the division to sit down and think.
Divisional secretary Mary Sexton told The Echo that the decision was a hard one for them to make.
“Collectively, we made the hard call to withdraw from the championship, what happened last weekend and the subsequent events with clubs having to temporarily suspend activities made us all just really stop and think.
"Were this to happen again and we had a divisional sides out with players from six clubs all mixing it could have the potential to bring every club in the division to a halt and this would not be something we would want.
"Health and safety is our big priority, it is hard at the best of time to organise divisional sides and the players are bitterly disappointed but they understand why we made the decision.”
Last season Carbery blazed a trail as they came within seconds of making it to the semi-final only losing out to eventual champions Sarsfields in extra time by the narrowest of margins and this makes the decision to withdraw all the more heartbreaking for them.
“We were fired up and ready for 2020, our management team of Jerry Ryan from Ballinascarthy and Paul Crowley Kilbrittain/ Timoleague were really determined that we could take the extra two steps in 2020 and go all the way.
"Even though Newcestown have gone up to Senior we had excellent young players join our panel this year who have Cork minor and U16 experience so it is really so disappointing but at the end of the day the welfare of everybody comes first and it is something we had what to prioritise."
While the withdrawal is a disappointment it will not have a negative impact on the championship other that there will now be one game less.
Carbery were due to meet Seandún on July 31 and Imokilly on August 4.
It now means that the losers of the Seandún-Imokilly game on August 11 goes to the losers round on August 15 with the winning division progressing to round four.