THE Munster Senior League enters its third weekend of games since the return to action following a lengthy lay-off because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Games returned on the proviso of certain protocols being followed by all clubs but, according to Munster Senior League chairman John Finnegan the non-compliance of certain protocols, specifically teams gathering in dressingrooms, before, at half-time, and after games, have put the continuation of games in doubt.
“Under no circumstances should dressing rooms, for home or away teams, be used,” Finnegan stated.
“These guidelines were laid out from the start and clubs were told again before the second week of games that no indoor togging out is allowed. The protocols are quite clear.
“Members of the management committee of the league have been at games over the last few weeks and they have openly seen teams entering and leaving dressing rooms.
“The protocols are quite clear and this is a serious breach of the rules.”
Finnegan explained that the league will take action against clubs that continue to breach those rules.
“This is a zero-tolerance situation and it is a serious threat to the league. The management committee is considering a number of responses including suspending teams from playing in their home grounds if they continue to flout the rules.”
The league’s stance is based on health concerns for the players, considering the majority of them are in a cohort that probably have not been vaccinated yet and could be vulnerable to the more transmissible Delta Variant that is responsible for most of the current Covid cases throughout the country.
“We’ve lost two seasons and we want to ensure that we don’t lose a third.
“We wanted to get players back playing; that’s what players wanted and were asking for over the last few months, but unfortunately some teams are putting the season in jeopardy by continuing to tog out in dressing rooms.
“It’s up to clubs to ensure that the rules are adhered to, though what we would prefer is that dressing rooms remain locked with one person holding the keys in case of an emergency situation.”
“Players’ health is a top priority for the league, and the object was to get players playing again and we won’t let the irresponsible actions of a minority jeopardise that,” Finnegan added.
Though he is clearly annoyed, the MSL chairman was also quick to pay tribute to the clubs that are adhering to the regulations.
“It’s a tiny minority that is breaking the rules, some of them high-profile clubs, but we want to thank the clubs that are doing the right thing.
“We want to continue the season and the league won’t be found wanting on that, but we all have to work together on this and adhere to the guidelines.”
Action continued last night with some big games in the Keane Cup and the Junior League Cup and over the next three days we will see some of the quarter-final places in the Keane Cup decided.
It’s hoped that the final will be played before the August Weekend.
The plan is also to play a league game before that weekend, in the senior grades at least.
The Beamish Stout Junior League Cup will take a bit longer to complete because of larger groups and an extra knockout round and could run into August.