Plans to allow larger outdoor crowds to gather from next Monday will not go ahead after the Government opted to defer Phase 4 of its roadmap on reopening Ireland until 10 August.

Currently 200 people can gather together outside, which was due to rise to 500 people in Phase 4 of the easing of coronavirus restrictions on 20 July.

However, Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed tonight that the Cabinet has agreed that current health measures on Covid-19 should remain in place until 10 August.

The decision represents a major blow for all Irish sporting codes, particularly the GAA and the League of Ireland. 

The SSE Airtricity League is due to restart on 31 July and the prospect of up to 500 people being able to attend games would have been a huge financial lift for struggling clubs.

Likewise, the GAA was hoping that the proposed increase to crowds of 500 next week would have helped with demand for tickets.

As it stands, the 200 limit includes players, backroom teams, media, officials, stewards and the rest of the volunteer core that assemble to stage matches. 

It's only when they are all accounted for that supporters can be considered.