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Ulster Rugby trio rapped after training together in public park


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Ulster players training together

Ulster players training together

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Ulster players training together

Ulster Rugby has reminded players of social distancing regulations after three players were spotted training outdoors.

David O'Connor, who made his Ulster debut last September, his brother Alan and fellow team mate Marty Moore conducted what appeared to be a training session after driving to playing fields at Greenville Park in east Belfast yesterday morning.

The brothers were observed by a Belfast Telegraph photographer removing a bag of cones, some water and boots from a vehicle before heading to the playing fields. Mr Moore had arrived and later left separately.

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Alan O'Connor

Alan O'Connor

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Alan O'Connor

People are allowed to take daily exercise, but only with members of their own household.

An angry resident shouted at the sportsmen: "There is a coronavirus crisis. Have you not heard of social distancing?"

The players - who, along with their Ulster teammates and coaches, were placed on furlough by the club - then appeared to continue training.

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David O'Connor

David O'Connor

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

David O'Connor

In a statement, Ulster Rugby said they have spoken to the players involved to remind them of the rules in relation to social distancing.

The club also said the gathering was "not pre-arranged" and David and Alan "live in the same household".

Under Assembly restrictions, people should only leave home for a very limited number of reasons, such as shopping for essential items and daily exercise.

However, exercise must be either alone or with fellow household members.

Members of the public must also adhere to keeping a two metre distance from other people.

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Marty Moore

Marty Moore

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Marty Moore

Travel to work is allowed when working from home is not an option and for volunteering and charitable purposes, as well as to access public services.

The PSNI does not list exercise as among the reasons people are allowed to travel, although the legislation makes no reference to where exactly the exercise should be carried out.

The players were observed taking a break with David and Alan chatting as Mr Moore lay down on the playing field.

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The players training together

The players training together

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

The players training together

When the trio ended their session, a woman could be heard shouting from a nearby garden: "Ridiculous" as the players returned to their vehicles before departing.

In response, a spokesman for Ulster Rugby said: "A small number of Ulster Rugby players were pictured exercising in an open space as part of their individual training programmes.

"This was not a pre-arranged gathering and two of the players pictured are brothers who live in the same household."

The spokesman continued: "All training programmes issued to the players are designed to be done remotely, with specific social distancing protocols included.

"The players have been reminded to respect social distancing when exercising outdoors and we shall continue to reinforce this message."

Belfast Telegraph