The Limerick hurling management team has yet to decide whether they will appeal the red card issued to forward Peter Casey during last weekend's All-Ireland semi-final win over Waterford. As it stands, the Na Piarsaigh man stands to miss the season finale against Cork through the automatic two-game suspension.
"We got the referee's report yesterday, late yesterday," manager John Kiely confirmed at Limerick's pre-All-Ireland media event at the LIT Gaelic Grounds on Tuesday.
“ We had a few hours of discussion about it at that stage, but we have 48 hours to decide on our approach to it. We have another meeting scheduled for this evening after training, so basically it’s ongoing. So there’s no definitive decision taken as yet.
“It all depends on what decision or what route we decide to take. For the moment it’s only Tuesday, so there’s no panic. We said on Sunday we’d take our time and make the right decision for Peter and for the group, and we’ll use the time we have.”
Kiely was reluctant to revisit the off-the-ball incident, which has split interpretation.
“At this stage I’m not going to comment other than to say that’s where it’s at, that wouldn’t be fair.”
However, he did confirm that whatever direction the group decides to go with the appeal will involve Casey's input. Immediately after the game, Kiely had pointed out a red-card incident went against Casey's form as a hurler. Speaking on Tuesday, team captain Declan Hannon empathised with what is an extremely difficult situation for his team-mate.
“Yeah, of course I was talking to Peter, he’s obviously very upset and disappointed over the red card and it’s even worse when it’s in an All-Ireland semi-final. Peter’s been absolutely flying all year, Peter’s a big part of our group and our family and we’re all there to support him. We want the best for Peter as he would for us going forward.”
“I don’t know what the situation is with appeals at the minute, that’s for obviously the management and Croke Park to look after but I obviously feel very sorry for Pete. I know his brother Mike is injured as well so it’s kind of a double blow for the family but we’ll be there for Peter and support him as he does for us.”
Wing back Diarmuid Byrnes will be held back from training this week after rolling his ankle in the semi-final but Kiely expects him to return once the swelling subsides.
"He'll probably have to get it strapped but he'll be fine. The other knocks were dead legs and so on, nothing that won't clear up in a few days. The only players who aren't training are Mike Casey, and Mark Quinlan, who's had a quad strain for the last four weeks but should be back over the course of the next week. I'm expecting everyone else to be able to train."
The disastrous impact of Covid 19 on the All-Ireland semi-final preparations of the Tyrone footballers have underlined the precariousness of the championship as a whole. Kiely agreed that the possibility of an outbreak remains a constant worry for the defending All-Ireland champions.
“It’s absolutely a worry, it’s been a worry for the last year and a half. You just don’t know the second you’ll get that call or text from someone saying they’ve been diagnosed with Covid or they’re a close contact, or they have a test. We had a few cases, a few lads who had to isolate before the championship started, and we know how disruptive it can be.”
Having dealt with players returning from the virus, he could vouch for the argument that it takes significant time for affected players to return to their previous state of match fitness.
“I understand Tyrone’s situation because it does take time for the players to get back up and running when they come back, absolutely. You can’t go from zero to 100 miles an hour overnight, you need time to get back up – it’s like an engine, you can’t go to 100 miles an hour straight away or you’ll blow something.
“Everyone’s cognisant of how difficult it is for groups in this situation, and I’m sure Croke Park are trying to help, not hinder, teams and to facilitate the safe running of the championship. That the players are well and healthy – that’s the most important thing, that they’re well and healthy in all our camps. That’s our job, to make sure they’re healthy.”