Elite sport has been given the green light to continue despite the Government moving the country to Level 5 of the framework for Living with Covid-19, in an attempt to stall the continuing rise in coronavirus numbers nationwide. 

The Taoiseach made the announcement this evening, confirming the increased restrictions, while also leaving the door open for this year's GAA Championship to proceed as planned.

A press release, issued by the Government Press Office stated that "no training or matches should take place, with the exception of professional, elite sports and inter-county Gaelic games, horse-racing and greyhound racing, which are being permitted to continue behind closed doors". 

"In recognition of the impact on children and young people of restrictions, non-contact training can continue for school aged children, outdoors in pods of 15.  

"All other training activities should be individual only, with some exemptions."

The GAA's Allianz League returned on Saturday after a 33-week suspension due to the pandemic, while the SSE Airtricity League season is reaching its climax. 

Ireland's rugby internationals are gearing up for a busy autumn series and the conclusion of the Guinness Six Nations, while horse racing's National Hunt season is also poised to ratchet up a notch in the coming weeks. 

Government minister Eamon Ryan said that golf courses would close during the Level 5 phase.

The new restrictions, which come into effect from midnight on Wednesday, are set to be in place until the end of November.