All sporting activity ends in Westmeath as Government imposes new restrictions

The new restrictions on movement imposed by the Government yesterday in order to stem the Covid-19 outbreak means that all forms of sporting activity in Westmeath have effectively been halted.

Original restrictions, imposed earlier this month, dictated that large gatherings of people would be suspended until at least March 29. This led to the GAA, the FAI and the IRFU suspending all activity in Gaelic games, soccer and rugby.

Other sports followed suit, taking direction from their respective national organisations.

However, the near-lockdown measures announced by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar yesterday have extended this cessation of sport until at least April 19, and other sports exempted from the original measures have been impacted.

Golf clubs, which remained open to members while practicing social distancing, have now been asked to close by the GUI and the ILGU.

As of yesterday, Mullingar Golf Club closed all of its facilities at its Belvedere course until April 29, with club administration operating remotely. The deadline for receipt of junior membership applications has been extended until Friday May 15.

Meanwhile, horse racing, which had previously taken place behind closed doors, will now cease, meaning that the opening meeting at Kilbeggan on April 24 is unlikely to take place.

"At the moment, racing at Kilbeggan is due to start on April 24, but being practical, with the way this virus is spreading, it's hard to see horse racing being back in business by that date," said Paddy Dunican, general manager, Kilbeggan Races.

"Hopefully the decisions the Government has made will stop the spread of Covid-19 and hurry up the country getting back to normal."

Other sports have also shut up shop. On Monday last, Mullingar Bowls Club announced that it would finish for the foreseeable future.

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