As competitive football returns to Northern Ireland after 135 days, Irish FA president David Martin says his thoughts are with everyone in the country who has been affected by Covid-19.
The last Danske Bank Premiership games were back on Saturday, March 7 and the global pandemic ensured the game had to go into cold storage while the country went into a long lockdown to save lives.
Even though the virus is still spreading, restrictions are gradually being lifted and this evening's games represent an important step forward for football, its players and supporters.
But the fans will have to wait to watch some live action while strict health protocols are observed.
Tonight's semi-finals of the fonaCAB Irish Junior Cup will be staged at two separate behind-closed-doors venues in county Armagh.
Holders Enniskillen Rangers from the Fermanagh and Western League will face Bessbrook United of the Carnbane League at the home of Annagh United on Portadown's Tandragee Road at 7.45pm.
And another F&W team, NFC Kesh, will contest the other semi-final against west Belfast side Willowbank of the Northern Amateur Football League at Armagh City's Holm Park at the same time.
Fans are also excluded from the Irish FA Harry Cavan Youth Cup final, which sees Cliftonville Strollers tackle Institute U18s at Mill Meadow - the Castledawson home of Moyola Park - on Wednesday.
In Friday's Intermediate Cup semi-finals, Dollingstown will face St James' Swifts at Tandragee Road, while Belfast Celtic will meet Newington at Seaview (both 7.45pm).
The senior game is back with a bang next Monday when the two Irish Cup semi-finals, Ballymena United v Coleraine and Glentoran v Cliftonville, go ahead at Windsor Park.
No spectators will be in attendance, though the Irish FA are hopeful a few fans can attend the final at Windsor on Friday, July 31.
IFA chief Martin has hailed football's return as a big step forward, while acknowledging the suffering and loss Northern Ireland has endured.
"The season ends on July 31 and it has been the Association's focus to have all their Cup semi-finals and finals played before that date," he said.
"The football landscape has been decimated, like other sports, but by extending the season we have the opportunity to play the competitions.
"I'd like to say thank you to all the clubs involved for their patience and returning to training and working within the guidelines included in the IFA's return to play protocols.
"Thanks in particular to the Covid-19 response group within the IFA for the work they are doing as well as the health professionals in the Government departments we have worked with to get football up and running again.
"The Association has been working closely with Government and my personal thanks along with the gratitude of the Association must go to the health experts who have helped us with this step by step approach back to normality.
"This is the first small step but a significant one. It will give us a lift but we must remember that hundreds of lives have been lost in Northern Ireland and that is uppermost in our minds."
If there is approval from the NI executive, only "very small numbers" will be allowed into Windsor for the Irish Cup Final at the end of next week.
"The Association has been working with the Department of Communities and health service officials regarding the safe return of supporters to grounds," added Martin.
"There will be no supporters at any of the junior semi-final or finals, with small numbers admitted in line with our protocols.
"It's hoped some fans can attend the Irish Cup final on July 31 but that will depend on talks between the Irish FA's Covid-19 response group and health authorities.
"We can't put a figure on it but I would anticipate no more than very small numbers.
"The real story of the last four months has been the number of fatalities and that is always in our mind as we plot a way out of this pandemic."
For Under-18 and other youth games, a parent or guardian transporting a child to a game is deemed to be assisting with the fixture and is therefore permitted to attend.
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