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All rugby, hockey and GAA activity suspended: How coronavirus is impacting Northern Ireland sport


The Guinness PRO14 season has been suspended indefinitely.

The Guinness PRO14 season has been suspended indefinitely.

©INPHO/Dougie Allward

Croke Park Stadium in Dublin (Chris Bacon/PA)

Croke Park Stadium in Dublin (Chris Bacon/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

The Guinness PRO14 season has been suspended indefinitely.

All rugby, hockey and GAA activity in Ireland has been suspended until March 29 in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

After the Guinness PRO14 had announced that Ulster Rugby's league season was suspended indefinitely, the Irish Rugby Football Union confirmed that all rugby was adjourned from 6pm today (Thursday) until March 29.

That includes, of course, Ulster's upcoming league game at home to Dragons, all club action and next week's scheduled Schools' Cup final between Royal School Armagh and Wallace High School.

The decision to suspend the PRO14 remains 'under constant review', tournament organisers said.

Ulster are still due to travel to Toulouse for a European Champions Cup quarter-final clash on Sunday, April 5 as that fixture remains unresolved.

European Professional Club Rugby said it was continuing to "liaise with the relevant league and union bodies" regarding the last eight ties.

"All ticket holders are advised to retain their tickets for Ulster Rugby home fixtures as they may be valid for any re-scheduled fixture," read a statement from Ulster Rugby. "In the event of any game being cancelled we will communicate to Season Ticket holders and match ticket holders regarding a refund policy."

The Gaelic Athletic Association, meanwhile, has postponed all activity from midnight tonight, also until March 29, including matches, training and team gatherings.

This morning, the GPA sent a text to members gauging opinion as to whether they favour postponement or staging the match in grounds with no spectators admitted.

The decision throws open the possibility that this year’s National leagues will not be concluded.

The NI Football League is not expected to make an announcement until Friday on the immediate future of the Irish League, with five Danske Bank Premiership fixtures still scheduled to be played at 3pm on Saturday afternoon.

In New York, it is understood that Michael Conlan's bout against Belmar Preciado at Madison Square Garden will go ahead behind closed doors.

Down Royal has already announced its intention to run the St Patrick’s Day race meeting, scheduled for Tuesday March 17, behind closed doors.

Emma Meehan, Chief Executive of Down Royal Racecourse said: “We apologise for any inconvenience caused; however the health and safety of racegoers is our priority. Only runners, riders and trainers will be in attendance, with turnstiles closed to racegoers. Ticketholders will automatically receive a full refund within 14 working days.”

Bosnia and Herzegovinia's Football Association has requested that the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against Northern Ireland in Zenica is postponed amid fears that 'most' of the host country's players would be unable to take place. Similarly, Slovakia have also asked UEFA for a postponement of their semi-final at home to Republic of Ireland.

The Irish Hockey Board convened on Thursday evening and postponed all activity until March 29.

Belfast Telegraph