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GAA hero turned MLA fears virus spikes could put stop to all games


 (stock photo)

(stock photo)

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Positive tests: Killeavy club crest

Positive tests: Killeavy club crest

(stock photo)

All-Ireland winning Newry and Armagh MLA Justin McNulty feels there is a worry within the GAA that activities may come to a halt after clusters of Covid-19 broke out among local clubs.

This came after it emerged that five players from the Killeavy club in Armagh had tested positive for the virus on Friday.

GAA fixtures returned earlier this month after the Executive announced that competitive sport could resume.

Communities Minister Caral Ni Chuilin also stated that a small number of spectators would be allowed to attend sporting events from last Friday.

SDLP MLA Mr McNulty, who was a member of the Armagh team that beat Kerry to lift the Sam Maguire in 2002, said the last thing anyone wants to see is a halt to competitive action after the restart.

But he hopes the swift actions of the Killeavy club will help avoid such a scenario.

"There's a concern amongst the community around Killeavy and there's concern in the wider GAA community obviously because there is a fear that the sport may be called to halt if this was to spread any further," he explained.

"The biggest thing here is the health of the individuals involved and the hope that they make a fast recovery.

"That's all I would put my focus and emphasis on.

"I think the club has acted swiftly to isolate the cases and I really hope that the swift action will resolve the matter in the short-term.

"That's what the hope would be."

On Killeavy's Facebook page chairman Michael O'Neill encouraged all senior players to arrange a Covid-19 test "as soon as possible".

The club postponed all of its weekend's fixtures, while other local clubs had to withdraw from all activities following positive test results.

Longstone in Co Down suspended all activities after a player tested positive, while 10 clubs in Derry have taken similar action.

Meanwhile, the Forkhill club, which is just a few miles from Killeavy, announced yesterday that all tests came back negative after a person who had tested positive came into contact with one of its players.

In a statement yesterday the club said: "The committee is pleased to announce that all tests in respect of Covid-19 have come back negative.

"This means that our club can now reopen to all games, training etc with effect from Monday, July 27.

"We thank the player concerned for his honesty, openness and cooperation over the past few days."

Belfast Telegraph