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Hockey eagerly awaits Stormont decision on sporting return

 

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Lisnagarvey captain James Corry

Lisnagarvey captain James Corry

Lisnagarvey captain James Corry

The Republic of Ireland government's road map to ease the lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has provided fresh hope that hockey's national league will return in time for the new season.

In the fourth phase, which begins on July 20, football and GAA - and presumably hockey being a sport with less physical contact - can return.

With hockey being an all-island sport and assuming there are no reasons to re-impose any of the restrictions, the new IHL season could start in September.

However, with local government expected this week to announce a plan for easing some restrictions, much will depend on the Stormont response and there is no guarantee that it will be as relaxed as the Republic's.

The future lifting of limitations on movement in Ulster will be key to the hopes that hockey can return as players would obviously have to travel across the border to play in the national league.

Taking part in sport is currently prohibited and, unless things change, getting to and from matches would not be regarded as essential travel.

Lisnagarvey captain James Corry said: "The five stage plan from the Republic certainly seems a positive development for sport so we are just hoping the UK government and/or our own devolved administration introduces something similar.

"The squad are already talking about the prospect of being able to get back training even in small groups if that's the next step in Ulster."

Belfast Telegraph