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Lisnagarvey 'buzzing' at possibility of fans returning for Irish Cup semi-final, says Corry



Curtain raiser: Lisnagarvey captain James Corry

Curtain raiser: Lisnagarvey captain James Corry

Freddie Parkinson

Curtain raiser: Lisnagarvey captain James Corry

Lisnagarvey and Cookstown are keeping their fingers crossed that they will be able to benefit from home support in next month's Irish Senior Cup semi-finals.

It had been feared that the NI Executive would fall into line with the Republic's government and ban spectators from sporting events for the time being.

However, there were no such restrictions imposed at yesterday's Stormont briefing and, instead, it's understood that fans could be allowed to attend the games - held over from last season which was cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic - on September 6, subject to local government approval and provided the venues pass risk assessments.

Garvey face Glenanne at Comber Road and Cookstown are up against UCD at Steelweld Park with the final scheduled for September 19 at a venue still to be confirmed.

Garvey captain James Corry said: "The boys are buzzing for the game and if we are allowed to bring a crowd along, it will only add to the sense of occasion.

"Everyone is really excited ahead of the new campaign and being able to complete last season's Irish Cup will be a great curtain raiser."

Meanwhile, umpires are being urged to clamp down on serious breaches of Covid-19 protocols when the new season kicks off.

Although it's unlikely to happen, players who are deemed to have coughed deliberately in front of an opponent or official will be handed an automatic red card.

Pre-match team huddles and any such gatherings between quarters are forbidden as are high-fives, handshakes and goal celebrations that break social distancing.

Any flouting of such protocols will initially produce a warning to the captain of the offending team, to be followed by cards and a spell in the sin-bin for repeated indiscretions.

The advice to umpires is part of Hockey Ireland's latest return-to-play and return-to-competition protocols which were announced this week.

Belfast Telegraph