Chris Crummey: Covid-19 withdrawals remain a risk for all teams

Dublin forward shocked when four players were ruled out of Leinster final

Dublin’s Chris Crummy in action with Darragh Corcoran of Kilkenny at Parnell Park in May. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Dublin’s Chris Crummy in action with Darragh Corcoran of Kilkenny at Parnell Park in May. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Dublin hurler Chris Crummey has acknowledged that the risk of mass withdrawals for Covid-19 reasons will remain with all teams for the duration of this year’s Championships.

Towering forward Crummey described it as a “massive shock” to learn last Saturday morning, just hours before Dublin’s Leinster SHC final against Kilkenny, that four players could not participate.

Ronan Hayes and Cian O’Callaghan, both named to start, along with subs Oisin O’Rorke and Fergal Whitely, were withdrawn at the 11th hour after one of the players – who has not been named – tested positive for the virus. The other three were identified as close contacts.

The following day, Kildare manager Jack O’Connor confirmed that Darragh Kirwan, named to start their Leinster SFC semi-final tie against Westmeath, was similarly withdrawn due to his close contact with a virus case.

“Obviously it came into the camp from the community and that’s a risk,” said Crummey of Dublin’s situation. “We’re amateur players and a lot of us are living with friends or living with family and out in the community working with people every day. We’re not like the Lions where you can have a bubble in that sense, where you can isolate in a hotel for a few weeks before a game.

Disappointment

“So for that reason, it’s a risk for every county team and just hopefully for the rest of the year, no other team will have to wake up on the morning of the game with the same shock and disappointment as ourselves.”

Vaccinating intercounty players would help though that may not meet with universal approval.

“Obviously in hindsight it would have been great if we had all been vaccinated but I think there’s a lot of people in society who could make a case for themselves to be vaccinated too,” said Crummey.

“The Government have made their decisions and followed guidance in terms of what members of society should be vaccinated first. You just have to follow that.

“It’s obviously disappointing when you’re missing out on such a big game like a Leinster final and you’re a close contact and there’s no symptoms and you’re in the full of your health. To be sitting at home watching a Leinster final in that situation is very disappointing.”

Worse still was the sight of talisman full-back Eoghan O’Donnell limping off after just three minutes with a recurrence of a hamstring injury. Between him and O’Callaghan, that was two thirds of the Dublin full-back line which had overcome Galway.

Crummey could be forgiven if he felt just a bit thieved by fate.

“Ah no, just disappointed for the lads,” he said. “They’re massive players for us and they’ve all contributed so much to us on our journey to get to the Leinster final. For them to be missing out on the game, I’m just disappointed for them.”

Whatever about O’Donnell, the other quartet who missed the Kilkenny game should be back for an All-Ireland quarter-final on Saturday week against a Round 2 winner.

“The three lads tested negative, the close contacts,” said Crummey. “We were obviously delighted to hear that. They’ll all be back in training with us hopefully by the end of the week or early next week.”

Dublin stuck with Kilkenny for the majority of the first half though were eventually burned off and lost by nine points. Crummey refused to blame that on their Covid ill fortune.

“There’s massive confidence in the group and in the panel we have, that the lads who come in would do as good a job,” he said. “That was our mindset when we found out the news, that we were just going to focus on what we have, not who we were missing.

“I think ultimately it came down to ourselves and our execution, that was a big thing that let us down at the weekend. We had a number of wides and scoring opportunities that we did not take.”

*Chris Crummey was speaking at an AIG Dublin GAA event to celebrate the 2021 All-Ireland Championships. For great car and home insurance offers see www.aig.ie

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