Wateford FC goalkeeper Brian Murphy has confirmed on Twitter that the Waterford FC first team are dealing with a positive case of Covid 19 in the camp, and a number of close contacts, in an outbreak that hit the camp prior to today’s SSE Airtricity Premier Division game with Drogheda United.
After a club source confirmed to the Waterford News & Star that players will have to isolate for a ten day period that will also see them miss next Saturday’s away game with Sligo Rovers, the rumour mill went into overdrive.
After a Friday of uncertainty with many players left in the “dark” regarding the situation at the club, speculation mounted that Mike Geoghegan’s first game in charge of the Blues mightn’t go ahead at all, but despite a number of attempts on our behalf to clarify the situation with club officials, a late evening statement followed.
In a social media statement, the club said that “two senior players were deemed to be close contacts of a confirmed Covid 19 case.”
After players were initially told that Thursday’s training was going to be cancelled amid a Covid scare, that session went ahead before the first team also played a friendly game with the Under 19 side at the WIT Arena later that evening.
The club statement stated that they “carried out a wide testing program of our first team,” and that “these tests have returned negative test results but eeping with our ethos of public safety and that of our club and visitors, we have made the decision to stand down our senior team for tonight’s game with Drogheda United,” with the club confirming that “our talented under 19 squad will take to the field in the RSC to fulfil this fixture under the guidance of manager Mike Geoghegan.”
‘WELL PREPARED AND DESPERATE TO PLAY’
In a twitter post this afternoon (Saturday), Murphy, who was due to return to the squad for the first time since he was exiled, said, “All of us players were well prepared and desperate to play tonight! We are disappointed that we are unfortunately dealing with a positive Covid case and close contacts in our squad.
“For the health and safety of all involved the FAI advised us players involved in this to stand down. We are not the first club that this has happened to but we have to adhere to Government and FAI guidelines. Best of luck to our team tonight. I’m sure you’ll make your families and fans very proud tonight.”
After been contacted by the Waterford News & Star, Waterford FC Covid officer Mark Dunne said, “Two nights ago at 9.45pm, the HSE alerted a player that he was a close contact and he notified the club. The player was tested, and on a two hour return was negative. The club then started to identify close contacts of that player, and all precautions were taken.
“After further investigations, the club established that there were nine potential close contacts, and these were all tested. There were 12 further tests where there was eleven negative and one positive. All the rest of the squad have been tested as of this morning. Four of the current squad are not in quarantine because they’re injured.”
Only Under 19 players that are over the age of 18 will be allowed partake in this game at the RSC this evening with these players, and Under 18 players allowed to feature in the squad when Monday’s restrictions are lifted. This will mean that the Under 19 side will face Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds on Saturday next.
A staggering €70,836 was matched on Betfair on the Waterford FC v Drogheda United game with a lot of these bets placed prior to the club statement. A number of other bookmakers removed the game from their markets, but there is still a live market on the Betfair exchanges.