Tyrone v Kerry All-Ireland semi-final refixed for August 28th

Match will now go ahead after GAA granted Tyrone an extra week to prepare after Covid

Tyrone’s management team of Feargal Logan and Brian Dooher will lead the county for their semi-final against Kerry. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Tyrone’s management team of Feargal Logan and Brian Dooher will lead the county for their semi-final against Kerry. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

Kerry’s All-Ireland semi-final against Tyrone has been moved again, to Saturday, August 28th, with the All-Ireland final now taking place two weeks later than scheduled, on September 11th. This is to give the county the time requested to allow for the recovery of some of its players from Covid-19.

According to a GAA statement on Sunday, the decision was made “following receipt of additional medical information from Tyrone GAA and subsequent deliberations with the relevant parties today (Sunday)”.

It’s not an ideal solution as it impacts on other counties and complicates the start of the club season, originally intended to have exclusive access to the calendar from September, but it saves the GAA from the prospect - unprecedented in modern times - of having to hand a walkover to a team in an All-Ireland semi-final.

Overall, though, it makes sense to complete the season rather than have such a significant anomaly hovering over the championship outcome.

The saga of the covid-19 outbreak in the county has been running since it was revealed that players had to be withdrawn before the Ulster final two weeks ago, with Tyrone insisting they needed a two-week postponement of the All-Ireland semi-final.

Deadlock between the county and Croke Park, which was prepared only to offer six days deferral, over when the match would be played intensified on Saturday with a statement from Tyrone that they would not be playing on the appointed date, August 21st.

Crisis meetings between the parties took place on Sunday morning with the agreement hammered out. Both opponents Kerry and All-Ireland finalists Mayo were consulted and agreed to the rescheduling.

Tyrone furnished the GAA with an update on the medical condition of its players and gave an undertaking that they would definitely fulfil the fixture on the new date.

Kerry, initially unhappy about the prospect of delaying a further two weeks as their previous match against Cork in the Munster final will be five weeks in the distance by the time they play the All-Ireland semi-final, agreed on Sunday that it would be better to play a match than take a walkover.

In a statement from county chair Tim Murphy, he said that Kerry was a “proud county” and “rich in the tradition of Gaelic games,” and that: “Every All-Ireland title that Kerry has won, has been hard earned after a tough competitive campaign and we expect this year to be no different.

“We empathise with the Tyrone senior football team who find themselves in this situation as a result of Covid-19 but would also point out the resultant knock-on challenges that our team, management and supporters are encountering.

“We find ourselves in a very difficult situation not of our making. We have explicitly followed all Covid protocols and we have taken every precaution to protect our players and management.

“Notwithstanding this and having considered every possible aspect of the situation, our over-arching wish is to ensure that the All-Ireland semi-final against Tyrone is played at the earliest possible opportunity. On that basis we have conveyed our position to national GAA earlier today and now await their deliberations and decision.”

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