All sport to resume in Republic of Ireland from 29 June as lockdown restrictions eased

Croke Park
The majority of sport in Ireland has been on the shelf since 12 March

All sport can resume in the Republic of Ireland from 29 June, as part of government plans to accelerate its Covid-19 lockdown exit plan.

A maximum of 200 spectators will be allowed to attend outdoor events, with the number rising to 500 from 20 July.

Decisions on how best to return to competitive action will be up to each sport's governing body.

The news comes as part of a government announcement that will see many parts of society re-opening.

While horse racing has resumed behind closed doors, most sports have remained out of action as the Republic of Ireland has started the process of moving out of lockdown.

The government's initial five-stage plan had signalled that 'phase three' would begin on 29 June, allowing teams to begin non-contact training.

However the new directive means that full training can resume at the end of the month, with no restrictions on when competitive action can start.

Governing bodies already planning return to action

The governing bodies for Gaelic games, football and rugby have already published their plans for a return to play at all levels.

Friday's announcement may well see an accelerated return to play at a number of levels. However, in the case of football and rugby, the dates set for professional competition to begin are unlikely to change.

The four provinces will return to rugby union action with a series of behind-closed-doors inter-provincial derbies in late August as part of the Pro14s plans to conclude the 2019-20 campaign.

The IRFU recently added a fifth stage to its 'return to play' plan, which indicated that club rugby would resume in September.

Shamrock Rovers
League of Ireland side Shamrock Rovers returned to training earlier this month

The League of Ireland hopes to resume in mid-August, having initially planned to stage a 'pilot tournament' involving last season's top four in July.

Meanwhile the GAA has already produced plans for a return to both club and county action.

Club games will begin first with matches taking place from 31 July.

It is anticipated that all club fixtures will be wrapped up before the condensed 2020 inter-county season finally begins on 17 October, with the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship reverting to a straight knockout format.

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