Logan declines to address Covid question as Tyrone turn attention to final test

‘We don’t think it’s appropriate to be batting it about’ assistant-manager tells media

Feargal Logan: ‘There will be a time and a place, if there’s further inquiry needed, we’ve absolutely no difficulty [discussing Covid issue]. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Feargal Logan: ‘There will be a time and a place, if there’s further inquiry needed, we’ve absolutely no difficulty [discussing Covid issue]. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

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Tyrone joint football manager Feargal Logan politely declined to address any questions on Covid-19 or player vaccination ahead their All-Ireland football final showdown against Mayo on Saturday week.

Speaking at the Tyrone press evening at the Garvaghey training centre, Logan told media in advance that the matter could be addressed at another time, only for now their focus was on the Mayo game. Tyrone’s semi-final against Kerry last Saturday, which they won by a single point after a dramatic game that went to extra-time, was postponed by a fortnight after several members of the Tyrone panel caught Covid-19.

“You will understand that we’re looking at a very important day on Saturday week, a very important footballing day for Tyrone generally and all of ourselves,” said Logan, who jointly managers the team with Brian Dooher.

“So in the circumstances, feel free to ask whatever you want to ask. If it strays beyond football and it enters arenas of Covid or vaccinations, we don’t feel it’s appropriate.

“We don’t mean any disrespect or ill-will if we say to you ‘Listen, have you a football question please?’ That’s the way we’ll be dealing with it. There’s a time and a place. It’s a very serious issue, what’s happening around our own county at the moment.

“So we don’t think it’s appropriate to be batting it about. We’re happy to answer all your football questions. There will be a time and a place, if there’s further inquiry needed, we’ve absolutely no difficulty. But tonight is a good football night for everyone so we look forward to it.”

Logan did later talk about the privacy of injured sick players being protected, when it came to those were available for selection and those who weren’t.

“Well, that takes us into another debate. In any event, whatever about any other debate in the privacy of the squad we would just honour our position. We’ll review it all and see where it lands us but be assured that there were several players that we just felt were not right.”

With confirmation that further lifting of Covid-19 restrictions could see a 70 per cent of stadium capacity being allowed to attend sporting events, once they are vaccinated, Logan was asked how this might impact on the final attendance in Croke Park on Saturday week.

Increased capacity

“Well, listen, as a player you would like to play in front of the biggest crowds you can play in front of because the atmosphere on Saturday was very good and that would be added to with more people there.

“On a very practical level it would ease a bit of difficulty around this county in the next few weeks on pure tickets but those are things that are way beyond our control and . . . we were appreciative and glad that there was 24,000 in last weekend and it added to the occasion.

“And, of course, in an All-Ireland final you would like to be there with 82,000 but whatever happens we will just have to deal with it. I am sure everyone involved in it will deal with it sensibly and as best as possible in all the circumstances of a public health emergency we are dealing with.

However the GAA are unlikely to opt for increased capacity because of the impracticality, even with vaccination stipulation given this is only three weeks after hurling final. Logan believes they should consider it.

“It would, absolutely, but to be fair my concentration is here and I am sure the people who have responsibility for making those decisions will do it in the best interests of everyone and whatever pops up, we will be happy with. As I have said before, we have been treated fairly and we trust everything will work out.”

Later, Kieran McGeary denied the report the Tyrone had trained on the morning of their league semi-final against Kerry back in June, when they lost heavily and conceded six goals. Former Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice was among those to suggest they had trained on the morning of the match at Killarney National Park.

Ah, this is absolute nonsense, it’s not true,” said McGeary.

“We were in Killarney National Park. But I would say I have done more walking up around here than we did in Killarney National Park that day.

“It’s absolutely not [true]. I was just thinking when I was watching a few Kerry people walking by, ‘I guarantee somebody will say we were training here’.

“So that’s obviously where that has come from, but no. We did not do a gym session.”

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