Cobh Ramblers boss accepts games could be called off because of Covid

Cabinteely had to forfeit the points against Galway last week after a positive case
Cobh Ramblers boss accepts games could be called off because of Covid

Cobh Ramblers manager Stuart Ashton. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

THE biggest talking point in the League Of Ireland First Division season so far was Galway United being awarded three points after their recent game with Cabinteely wasn’t played due to a positive Covid case.

After the issue in the Cabinteely camp emerged last Friday, the club’s board cancelled that evening’s fixture against Galway following discussions with the FAI and HSE.

According to rules issued ahead of the commencement of this campaign, fixture postponements for Covid-19 reasons aren't permitted if a club has 14 players available.

The Galway squad and management had already arrived in Dublin when the decision was made to call the fixture off.

Shelbourne manager Ian Morris described the decision to award Galway the three points as a “mockery”. But giving his thoughts on the matter, Cobh Ramblers boss Stuart Ashton provided a more balanced response on the matter.

“Everyone has their own opinion on it, it’s one where we’re all doing our best on a personal level not to catch it, and then as a group as well all the protocols are in the place.

“We’re in a difficult position as part-timers, where lads have to go to work and so on and incidents happen where it might not be your fault. So there’s no right and a wrong. 

“The rules were put in place to keep the league up and running, but I can see Ian's point of view as well. But if we get more cases, what do we do with the league then?

“Decisions were made at the start to keep the league running. 

It’s not ideal because we all want the games to be played. But it’s done for the right reasons and there’s never going to be a right answer for this, unfortunately.” 

The early stages of the First Division have seen many of the supposed favourites for promotion slow to get out of the traps.

Despite the early season results, Ashton feels that this First Division has the potential to be a marathon as opposed to a sprint.

“The sooner we can get a win the better, but as you’ve said there it’s a long season ahead of us. I think from last season and the way it panned out, with the two teams that came down, I think everyone was expecting all of the teams to hit the ground running. 

“So I just think it’s still early days. Teams and players are still finding their feet and we hope by going back to doing what we’re good at, we can find our true form.”

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