By Oisín Bradley
In recent weeks, Galway United were hit with the news that two of the club’s senior squad members tested positive for Covid-19. The news came in the wake of the club’s Airtricity League First Division clash with Drogheda United that Friday.
The news of the cases meant that all players and management had to go into isolation pending the results of tests carried out in the wake of the news. The positive cases were somewhat of a landmark, albeit a negative one, as they became the first confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in the League of Ireland at either of the two levels.
“The SSE Airtricity League First Division fixture between Galway United and Drogheda United has been postponed,” the club confirmed in a statement on their website.
“Two positive Covid-19 cases have been identified in the Galway United squad and as a result the whole first team squad and staff are now restricting their movements and awaiting tests, following HSE and government guidelines.”
Galway United will continue to follow all protocols relating to Covid-19 and the players will isolate for the required period of time.”
John Caulfield’s men will be looking to usurp Cabinteely and UCD in the final two fixtures of the league season, having seen an uptake of form over recent weeks, which could see them sneak into the playoff spots.
The club also confirmed the rescheduling of the game, stating that “the new date for the fixture will be announced in due course.”
This is not the only issue surrounding Covid-19 to have reared its head in Irish soccer circles in previous weeks. Galway native Aaron Connolly and Norwich City youngster Adam Idah were both ruled out of the Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2020 playoff defeat to Slovakia in Bratislava due to being a close contact of an FAI staff member who tested positive for the virus.
Both were considered key cogs in Stephen Kenny’s plans to progress in the qualifiers, and the feeling of injustice was only heightened by the fact that the test turned out to be a false negative.
The drama surrounding the national squad heightened on the morning of their UEFA Nations’ League draw with Wales at the Aviva Stadium. Alan Browne, Callum Robinson, John Egan, Callum O’Dowda and Alan Browne were ruled out due to being a close contact of a Covid-19 case.
Ireland’s next game in the Nations’ League is the reverse leg of their 0-0 draw with Wales in Cardiff in November.