Lessons to be learned from Down-Leitrim cancellation - Oisin McConville

Oisin McConville says GAA fans will accept that the provincial and All-Ireland Club Championships cannot take place this year
McConville won All-Ireland medals with Armagh and Crossmaglen and also coached his club

Former Armagh All-Ireland winner Oisin McConville says there are lessons to be learned from the cancellation of Down's Division Three game with Leitrim.

The Football League game scheduled for Pairc Esler in Newry on Saturday was called off just hours before throw-in.

Leitrim said they were unable to field a team and so conceded the win to Down.

"That is a fixture that could realistically have been fulfilled and the integrity of the competition would still be intact," said McConville.

"I understand the desire to err on the side of caution but there is a rapid testing system there and my understanding is that it is free so all teams need to avail of it," added the ex-All Star.

McConville hopes any additional measures introduced by the Irish Government to combat the spread of coronavirus on Monday will permit elite level sport in the form of the Football League and the Championship to continue.

"Hopefully the GAA will be able to continue in one form or another. Anyone who was at games at the weekend will realise that protocols were being followed.

"It looked like a very safe environment to me so hopefully we can continue to the last round of the National League and on to the Championship."

Donegal 'convincing winners'

Speaking to BBC Radio Foyle, the former Orchard county star lauded the spectacle produced by Donegal and Tyrone in their heavyweight Division One encounter at Ballybofey on Sunday.

"If that game had been played when it was due to be played in the spring you would have said there would be a bit of shadow boxing going on and the teams would have been trying to get up to speed," said McConville.

"Credit to both teams, but particularly to Donegal, who seemed to be right at the pitch of it from early on.

"Fitness wise they looked very sharp from early on in the game and they probably won the game a bit more convincingly than the final scoreline [2-17 to 2-13] suggests.

"Derry were another side who looked impressive in seeing off Longford and the introduction of Conor Glass strengthens them up around the middle of the field.

"That makes for a very interesting tussle with Armagh come the first round of the Championship."

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