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Down awarded walkover victory after Leitrim confirm they cannot field team for Allianz League clash

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Leitrim manager Terry Hyland

Leitrim manager Terry Hyland

Leitrim manager Terry Hyland

Down have been handed a walkover victory in their Allianz League Division 3 game against Leitrim after the southern county confirmed they would not travel for the fixture.

Leitrim withdrew from the game, which was due to be played at Pairc Esler, Newry at 4pm, after informing Down of a "lack of playing numbers available to travel."

This has massive implications on the promotion and relegation battles in Division 3, with Down now taking a big step towards promotion to Division 2 and Leitrim slipping closer to the trapdoor to Division 4.

In a statement, Leitrim GAA admitted that their decision was made in the interests of "the greater health situation" while also expressing the hope that they will be able to put out a team in their final game against Tipperary.

"Unfortunately, due to the greater health situation that has gripped the country, Leitrim GAA has found itself having to concede our Allianz League encounter versus Down today," read the statement.

"A number of players are awaiting test results and unavailable to travel. Other factors also prevented further players from being available, considering this greater health situation, and in this course of action, we must respect this situation.

"In summation, we are unable to field a team. We are living through very difficult times in an ever-increasing pandemic situation.

"Leitrim GAA is acutely aware of the efforts that have been made to get the inter-county season up and running.

"However, on this occasion, we cannot fulfill this fixture which is regrettable. We are hopeful that our situation will have resolved itself before next weekend's fixture versus Tipperary."

There are two other games taking place in Division 3 this afternoon, with Cork hosting Louth in Páirc Ui Chaoimh, while Longford, who had expressed doubts during the week, are travelling to Celtic Park to play Derry.

This is not the first instance of teams expressing concerns over fulfilling fixtures this week, with Fermanagh having had a request to postpone this weekend's game against Clare due to a lack of players rejected by the GAA.

Belfast Telegraph