The Tyrone football manager has voiced his concern for the club’s preparations ahead of the All-Ireland SFC semi-final against Kerry if the game is deferred for a further week.
Feargal Logan, Tyrone’s joint-manager, said, “We sincerely regret where we are.”
Feargal Logan believes that postponing the All-Ireland Football semi-final versus Kerry for another week will allow Tyrone to complete the match.
Tyrone GAA has already said that they would be unable to play in next Saturday’s match due to their Covid cases.
Logan, the team’s joint-manager, told Sport Northern Ireland that there had been over 20 instances involving the squad and broader personnel.
“We hope Croke Park will see fit to accommodate all of the fairness of the situation,” the Tyrone joint-manager added.
Logan, who missed the Ulster Final victory over Monaghan two weeks ago due to a Covid problem, stated that one Tyrone player was hospitalized in the last week as a result of the epidemic in the team, but he is now recuperating.
“Certainly the next weekend, which was our original request, is a weekend that we anticipate being able to handle,” Logan said.
“For top athletes, every day is another day on the journey back to play.”
The GAA stated on Monday that the game will be postponed from its initial date of this Sunday to August 21, but Tyrone disclosed later that day that they had requested a two-week postponement.
“In a perfect world, we’d have a month to get everyone correct, but we’re trying to balance that with Kerry, the GAA as a whole, and everything else that’s happening on, and the season has to carry on,” Logan said.
“We’re not going anywhere without a fight. We’d love to play Kerry in an important All-Ireland semi-final at some point, but we’re trapped with the numbers and the return to play and safe returns to play procedures that are in place.”
Logan stated that Tyrone made the statement on Saturday that they would not be able to play next weekend after consulting with a microbiologist in Dublin.
“In the end, he examined our data and produced a report for us the day before yesterday.” We have just got a report that confirms our greatest concerns, which we must immediately address.
“With the entire group, we have 17, 18,…beyond 20 [cases] that are very hard, significantly difficult.” It has recently encroached on our position.
“Every athlete on our team, his well-being is of utmost importance to us.”
As things stand, Kerry will get a bye to the final, which will be played against either Dublin or Mayo.
The county stated it made its decision “with the utmost reluctance and profound sorrow” on Saturday.
The action by the Red Hands has thrown the 2021 series into turmoil, putting the GAA in an unprecedented quandary over its main gaelic football tournament.
The Irish Football Association must now make a crucial choice on whether or not to grant another delay to the Ulster champions.
Tyrone chairman Michael Kerr said that player safety is at the heart of their management of the issue, and that they had no choice but to pull out of the fixture.
“The Tyrone GAA Management Committee has determined this morning that it will not be able to play its senior football team in the rescheduled All-Ireland football championship semi-final at Croke Park next Saturday,” the county said in a statement on Saturday.
“This decision has been taken with the utmost reluctance, and with profound sorrow, after receiving professional medical advice on the current and future health and welfare of the players who acquired the Covid-19 virus over the past two weeks, and after discussions with the team’s management.”
“It is acknowledged that the decision taken will cause significant disappointment and inconvenience to the Association, the Kerry GAA fraternity, and particularly Tyrone’s patrons and supporters, but the welfare and safety of players has been the overriding factor in all considerations of this difficult situation.”
Even if the match was postponed for another week, it is believed that several Tyrone players would be unable to participate, and that a significant portion of the team would be unable to play next weekend.
Tyrone had previously been in this situation, with a handful of players unavailable for the Ulster final two weeks ago due to Covid problems.
However, they chose to play Monaghan in the Croke Park final since they were still able to field an almost full-strength squad.
McGinley: ‘I don’t view this as brinkmanship.’
Enda McGinley, a former All-Ireland winner for Tyrone, said he didn’t see his county’s statement as a bluff effort to persuade Croke Park to agree to another week’s postponement.
“I was searching for proof of that, some kind of indication that if they had extra time, the scenario could have been different,” the current Antrim manager told Sport Northern Ireland. “But they didn’t suggest any of that, which I believe if they were playing brinkmanship would have been there.”
“None of us on the outside really knows, but it seemed from the statement that the advice they received must have been ‘no matter how much time you add, there’s no assurance these guys will be playable.’” There’s no assurance that the rest of the guys won’t be down.’
“Working at a hospital up here, I can attest to the fact that the numbers are high. Because the community’s population is so large, there’s no assurance that those who don’t have Covid this week will have it the next week.”
McGinley went on to say that the Tyrone County Board of Directors and administration “deserve a lot of respect for standing up very, very firmly for their players and maybe protecting them from themselves.”
“Knowing many of the personalities in that team, if they were the guys impacted, they would do everything to be on that field, but that is not the proper thing for them.”
“It has to be part of the thinking process, which demonstrates a high level of integrity.”