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The GAA Need To See Sense And Push Kerry-Tyrone Back By Another Week

The GAA Need To See Sense And Push Kerry-Tyrone Back By Another Week
By Gary Connaughton Updated
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This afternoon brought the news we had all been hoping that we wouldn't hear.

Tyrone have withdrawn from their rescheduled All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry next week, stating concerns over the welfare of players who had recently contracted covid should they take part in the fixture.

In a statement, they said that after taking medical advice, they felt that it was not possible to ask those members of the panel to take part and have withdrawn as a result:

This morning, the Tyrone GAA Management Committee has decided that it is not in a position to field its senior football team in the rescheduled All-Ireland football championship semi-final in Croke Park, on next Saturday.

Having received expert medical opinion on the existing, and future health and welfare of the players who contracted the Covid19 virus during the period of this last two weeks, and following consultation with the team’s management, this decision has been made with the greatest reluctance, and with deep regret.

The question is, what now?

It seems three possible solutions are being suggested by the public:

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  1. Give Kerry a walkover into the All-Ireland final
  2. Have defeated Ulster finalists Monaghan take Tyrone's place in the fixture
  3. Push the game back by another week, giving Tyrone's players more time to recover

The GAA have a decision to make, but only one of those options should be seen as palatable.

Nobody wants to see a team given a walkover in an All-Ireland semi-final. Amongst that group is probably Kerry themselves, who would have to go six or seven weeks without a game before being asked to face Dublin or Mayo in a final. That is wholly unfair.

It would be equally unjust to expect Monaghan to step into the breech at a week's of notice, with it highly unlikely their panel have gotten together to train in the aftermath of their provincial final defeat.

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Pushing the game back by one week is the only real option.

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The All-Ireland final should then take place one one week later than currently scheduled, on Saturday September 11th.

The main (and only real) opposition to this comes from those who say this will have an unfair effect on club championships, with this supposed to be a split season with club and inter-county action.

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However, the argument that the game simply could not be postponed for much longer does not hold all that much credence.

At the end of the day, such a decision would only really affect two or three counties. Club championships are already underway around the rest of the country. There will only be three counties in the competition after this weekend, with everyone else unaffected.

Yes, it is not an ideal situation for club players in Kerry, Tyrone, and Dublin/Mayo, but you'd imagine the majority of them will understand that their season will be on hold for a couple of weeks as their counties contend for All-Ireland honours.

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Even then, the losers in the Kerry and Tyrone game will not even have all that much change even if there were to be a second postponement.

As for the county boards organising these fixtures, you'd think they would have had a plan in place in the event their inter-county sides reached an All-Ireland decider.

These are no ordinary times. While continually postponing an All-Ireland semi-final is an alien concept, there is no better option.

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Tyrone deserve a chance to play in this fixture. If you were to ask the Kerry players, you would bet that very few of them would like to be handed a walkover to reach an All-Ireland final.

Let's push the game back by another week and not turn this competition into a farce.

SEE ALSO: Seán Boylan Slams GAA's 'Nonsensical' Rescheduling Of Kerry-Tyrone

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