The first case of the coronavirus was confirmed in the Republic of Ireland last night, two days after a there was confirmation of the virus in Northern Ireland. While it has been expected for some weeks now, the inevitable having happened will certainly lead to a further rush on precious hand sanitisers.
While sporting events are towards the bottom of the list of worries, it does appear as though chaos could ensue on the calendar over the next few months.
Ireland's trip to Slovakia for the European qualifier playoff is still almost a month away and must be cast in serious doubt now. In fact, the timing of UEFA's pan-European celebration of the Euros now seems unfortunate and ultimately dangerous.
A more immediate concern for Irish sports fans though is whether this season's Six Nations can be completed. Earlier this week, the IRFU accepted Health Minister Simon Harris' request that Ireland's game with Italy next week be postponed or possibly even canceled permanently. And while Italy remains the most effected European country by Covid-19, France confirmed last night that they have canceled gatherings of 5000 or more after their number of cases rose to 73.
As of yet, no decision has been made to cancel the game due to take place in Paris on the night of March 14th. French Top 14 and Ligue 1 games will go ahead today despite the ban, though most will certainly attract crowds of more than 5000.
With the game two weeks away, the likelihood of a escalation seems to be high though and the ban could be enforced in a much stronger way by then.
Should France beat Scotland next weekend, they are likely to be hosting Ireland with the opportunity to win their attempt first Grand Slam since 2010.