GAA match postponed after suspected swine flu outbreak
The GAA Minor All Ireland quarter final has been postponed after one of Ulster's top sides suffered a suspected outbreak of swine flu.
Down Minors were due to play Dublin in the crucial fixture this Saturday, but training had to be cancelled twice last week on medical advice after over 20 players fell unwell.
Last night, Down county board said its request to postpone the game has been granted. No details for the rescheduled tie are available yet.
But speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Down team manager Mark Turley said he was confident the game would go ahead.
“Most of the players have recovered,” he said. “Some have still got sore throats and coughs but the majority are better. One young fellow had symptoms on Saturday past, but the rest are back on their feet.”
Mr Turley said 21 players were affected by “flu-like” symptoms, as well as two of the Down management team.
“Some were worse than others and had to take to their beds for a couple of days,” he added.
“It was a worrying time, but we’re just glad no-one showed more serious symptoms.”
In view of the current swine flu pandemic, Mr Turley, a talented former player for Down seniors, said the decision to stop training last week was taken as a precaution.
He also said that players had been following NHS guidelines and confirmed the squad was hoping to meet for a training session tomorrow.
“It’s hard. People are going to get it, however careful you are, but when you’re a large group meeting two or three times a week it’s likely a number will catch it,” he said.
“Medical officers told anyone with symptoms to stay out of circulation for seven days. By this Thursday the majority of players will have done that and we hope to meet up for some light training.”
Mr Turley said it would be “most unfair” if the match was called off as a result of the scare.
“If someone has had the swine flu symptoms then they’re unlikely to pass it on,” he said.
“That’s why we cancelled training and asked the players to confine themselves for a while. We hope it will all have cleared up very soon and we’re hoping for a rematch within the next couple of weeks.”
A player developed symptoms following last Tuesday evening's training and Thursday's panel get-together was cancelled along with Saturday's session.
Down were narrowly beaten by Armagh in last weekend's Ulster Minor Final but they are still involved in the All-Ireland Championship.
To date, there have been no reports of suspected swine flu in the Armagh camp.