Irish Rugby has cancelled the remainder of the 2019/2020 domestic season with immediate effect, due to concerns over the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
In a press statement released on its website tonight, Irish Rugby announced that the “directive applies to all incomplete national and provincial competitions”.
Anticipating that the fallout of the coronavirus crisis will continue beyond March 29th, Irish Rugby stated that it wanted “to play its part [in combating the virus] while giving clubs the chance to put plans in place for the 2020/21 season”.
The statement outlined that “there will be no promotion or relegation in any of the five divisions of the Energia Men’s All-Ireland League”.
The announcement means that Dublin University Football Club (DUFC) Men finish their season in eighth place in the All-Ireland League (AIL) Division 1A.
DUFC won four matches in 14 outings in the AIL this season. Trinity often struggled to compete with their constantly-rotating team – injuries and commitments to provincial and international teams left the side stretched on numerous occasions.
The cancellation means DUFC will not face University College Dublin in the annual Colours match this season. This will be the first time since the formal inception of the contest in 1952 that the Colours match will not take place.
In an email statement to The University Times after the announcement, DUFC captain James Hickey said: “It is very unfortunate that the season has ended early and that the remaining matches, especially the Colours match, have been cancelled. We understand and agree with the decision taken given the exceptional circumstances.”
“I’d like to thank all of the players, coaches and administrators for their incredible work and commitment to the club throughout the season. I’d particularly like to thank Tony Smeeth, Kay Bowen and John Boyd for their ongoing significant contributions to the club.”
“It has been a great honour to captain Trinity Rugby this season and one I will always remember. An incredibly enjoyable year with many great moments both on and off the pitch. I have no doubt the club will go from strength to strength in the coming years”, he added.
Speaking after the announcement, IRFU Director of Rugby Development Colin McEntee said: “The decision to end the domestic rugby season for 2019/2020 season has not been made lightly. All options were discussed and the IRFU is satisfied it has arrived at the only equitable solution.”
“These are challenging times for us all and we know clubs will be impacted by this directive, but we will look back at this season as one where we put the physical welfare of our rugby community above all else”, he added.