The Irish FA have reassured concerned clubs that the remaining Irish Cup games will be played later this month.
Approval from the Northern Ireland Executive is required for the semi-finals and final to be played at Windsor Park and the Association say they are confident the green light will be given. The Irish FA have kept the four clubs still involved updated on developments and completed a round of Covid-19 testing for players and staff.
Ballymena United chairman John Taggart, whose side are to face Coleraine, said the games were "a decision that will be taken by the Executive and not the IFA or NIFL. I don't think approval has been granted yet to hold the Irish Cup games. Approval has yet to come."
Although the Covid-19 recovery process can be a fast-moving situation, the Irish FA remain optimistic the matches will proceed and be the first competitive fixtures involving Irish League sides since the Danske Bank Premiership was suspended in March.
An Irish FA spokesperson said: "The Irish FA is in regular dialogue with the Northern Ireland Executive. Based on its indicative timeline, it has set a date of July 17 as a return to competitive sport, allowing us to proceed with planning for all remaining Irish Cup games to be concluded safely and with the correct protocols in place."
The semi-finals, involving the Sky Blues and Bannsiders (4pm) and Cliftonville v Glentoran (8pm), on Monday, July 27 will go ahead without supporters in attendance. The Irish FA remain hopeful some supporters will be allowed to attend the final on Friday, July 31, with all games televised live by the BBC.
Coleraine manager Oran Kearney said: "A lot's been happening, from questionnaires to temperature tests. Everyone is trying their best to think ahead. The boys are back in training and it's important we get the players ready for the next challenges."
A Glentoran source added: “I’m sure the Irish FA are in regular contact with the NI Executive and will keep clubs advised if anything changes.”
Clubs have, so far, reported a clean bill of health following the Covid-19 tests and should any player test positive at a later date the IFA say “he will be asked to follow Covid-19 guidelines set out by the Public Health Authority”.
While the IFA are hopeful some fans will be allowed into the Irish Cup final, it remains unclear whether supporters will be allowed to attend European qualifiers. David Healy’s Linfield will play in a four-team Champions League preliminary round tournament from August 8-11 in Nyon, Switzerland behind closed doors.
Don’t be surprised, however, if a few Uefa officials watch the games as the first-round draws of the Champions League and Europa League are in Nyon on August 9, with second-round draws on August 10.
The three losing sides from the Champions League mini-tournament, also featuring teams from San Marino, Andorra and Kosovo, will drop into the second round of the Europa League qualifiers and it remains unclear whether supporters will be allowed to attend the single-leg qualifiers in August.
It would be a shame if Irish League fans are not allowed to travel to away fixtures, given many have fond memories of recent trips to Craven Cottage, Parkhead and Molineux.
Larne ace Conor McKendry, meanwhile, has signed a new contract at the club.