The Government has opted to implement the National Public Health Emergency Team's recommendations on spectator limits for sporting events, with measures set to limit capacity for outdoor venues to 50% or 5,000 people - whichever figure is lower - set to come into place on Monday.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed a number of restrictions designed to curtail the spread of Covid-19, following a meeting of the Cabinet on Friday.

Indoor sporting events will be subject to an 8pm curfew and a maximum capacity of 1,000 attendees or 50% of capacity, with the lower figure dictating crowd numbers.

Crowd limits will remain in place until 30 January, with rugby and horse racing set to be particularly affected over the festive period.

In rugby, where Leinster's Heineken Champions Cup trip to Montpellier has already been called off - interprovincial games are scheduled in the United Rugby Championship on St Stephen's Day and New Year's Day.

The 26 December fixture list sees Connacht visiting Ulster at Kingspan Stadium at 5.15pm, while Munster and Leinster are due to meet at Thomond Park at 7.35pm.

On 1 January, Connacht host Munster in a 5.15pm kick-off, while Leinster are at Ulster later that night.

All the games would be expected to attract well in excess of 5,000 supporters, although different public health advice applies in Northern Ireland.

In racing, the Leopardstown Christmas Festival will take place from 26-29 December, while ongoing indoor competitions between now and year's end include the men's and women's Super Leagues in basketball, as well as the respective National Cups, which resume in early January at the semi-final stage.

Munster have confirmed that they will reduce capacity for upcoming fixtures as a result of the Government directives, however, they confirmed that Saturday's game will not be affected as the new measures do not begin until Monday.

"Following on from the latest government update Munster Rugby will need to reduce the capacity for the upcoming fixtures against Leinster, Ulster, and Wasps at Thomond Park," said a statement on the club website.

"The new measures do not come into effect until Sunday, December 19 and there is no change for supporters attending tomorrow's Heineken Champions Cup game against Castres Olympique at Thomond Park."

Connacht have also responded to the new measures by stating that "this will have a significant impact on our game against Munster at The Sportsground on January 1st, which is already close to a sell-out".

Leopardstown said the announcement provides an element of certainty and they will examine their options over the next 48 hours.

The south Dublin racecourse said people who purchased tickets for the Christmas festival would then be contacted over the coming days.