THE Cork Youth League committee has officially confirmed that their Christmas break has been extended by a further two weeks meaning that their return to play has been delayed until the weekend of January 22.
With the rise in the number of cases of Covid-19 and the recently discovered Omicron variant in particular, the health department confirming 20,554 new cases on the day of the league’s decision, the safest option was to push back the return date.
Similar steps are being taken by the Business League and the Munster Senior League, though the AUL and Cork Schoolboys Leagues currently have fixtures in place for the weekend of January 7.
Clubs that may be considering playing friendlies to keep their players sharp will need permission from chairman Sean O’Sullivan and it will only be granted to those still in cup competitions.
“Following on from a meeting with the majority of the clubs within the league it has been agreed to delay the return of the season until the weekend of January 22,” a statement released by the Cork Youth League Committee reads.
“Teams playing friendlies must get permission from the League Chairman Sean O’Sullivan (email@example.com).
"Permission will only be given to teams involved in National/Provincial Cups with strict limitations on numbers “Stay Safe and Happy New year to all our clubs, players, referees, and supporters.”
While the news will likely come as a disappointment to players, coaches and parents alike, the Cork Youth League is well equipped to deal with this setback.
The league had initially decided to take an extended Christmas break December 6 to January 8 anyway.
That prolonged break had been implemented due to the good position the league found itself in with almost all divisions completing half of their matches.
There were already concerns over the weather conditions that are usually experienced at this time of year and officials were already keeping an eye on the rising cases of Covid across Cork and the rest of the country.
It is still hoped this extra-long circuit breaker will reduce the amount of training and games within clubs which will help sustain pitches for the new year and hopefully slow the spread of Covid amongst young people ahead of the return to action. All competitions are set to be completed in their entirety then by mid to late April, although that may also now need to be revised.
For updates on the status of these matches and for more information about the Cork Youth Leagues’ fixtures, results, and league tables in general, feel free to visit their official website corkyouthleagues.ie or follow their official accounts on social media.