Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence Simon Coveney admits that he has worries for the GAA ahead of the resumption of inter-county action this weekend.

Counties Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan will move on to Level 4 of the government's 'Living with Covid' restriction plan at midnight.

The GAA had already taken the decision to suspend club games for the foreseeable future last week after a strong response on social media to videos of teams celebrating after claiming county titles.

However such games can now not take place, even if the association wanted to play them.

"We do have concerns in relation to sporting fixtures," the Minister told RTÉ's Morning Ireland.

"That's why we've removed the exemption that would allow club championships to proceed. They now can't proceed.

"The only sporting fixtures that we are going to see are effectively high-level, inter-county sport behind closed doors - managed very carefully by the sporting organisations that are responsible for that."

"That's the decision we've made for now."

The Allianz League is set to return this weekend, although it has not been without its problems.

Fermanagh requested a postponement of their relegation four-pointer against Clare this weekend, after 17 players in their squad were impacted by the virus, but Croke Park rejected their plea yesterday.

Ireland saw a record number of 1,095 cases yesterday, leading Westmeath talisman John Heslin to question the wisdom of playing games.

"At what stage does the "Inter-county return badly needed in these grim days" commentary end?" he asked on Twitter.

"I am concerned from a health and welfare perspective, both individually and collectively, for those contributing to the inter-county season."

The counter-argument was put forward by Armagh forward Stefan Campbell, who tweeted that he does feel at risk playing football and views the prospect of the Allianz League and Ulster championship as "the one thing that has kept most of us going" and to remove it now would be a 'catastrophe'.