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Kieran McGeary Was Glad To Have Tyrone Pundits In Their Corner During Covid Controversy

Kieran McGeary Was Glad To Have Tyrone Pundits In Their Corner During Covid Controversy
By Gary Connaughton
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2021 was quite the year for Kieran McGeary.

Not only did the man Pomeroy win an Ulster title and his first All-Ireland with Tyrone, but he also capped off the season with All-Star and Footballer of the Year gongs at the PwC All-Star Awards on Friday night.

Of course, there was a time when such a positive end to the campaign looked far from certain.

The Tyrone camp was affected with a coronavirus outbreak in the buildup to their All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry, with the game postponed as a result. At one stage, the Ulster champions even pulled out of the championship.

However, the GAA would ultimately allow them to reenter, with the fixture eventually played two weeks after the original date.

Speaking to the media after his status as PwC Footballer of the Year of the year was confirmed, McGeary recalled just how difficult that period was for everyone involved in the panel.

We had a collective decision that time, one that we genuinely all backed together. It was the right decision at the time. We are lucky to get what we got and it was a great semi-final.

I spoke afterwards and that everybody was going to dwindle on the fact that Tyrone only one because they got the extra week and a half, or had more time to do tactics and analysis or whatever crazy notions people were thinking of.

To me, I think everybody wanted to see that game. Whether it was six days later or 60 days later, people wanted to see it. Regardless of the result it was an incredible semi-final and people got their worth of it...

I remember the dead silence in the circle whenever Feargal [Logan] spoke to us. People were standing around with hands on hips thinking 'what do we do, where do we go from here'.

People had to count to ten. Points of view were put across on both sides of the argument, whether to fulfil it or not, whether we could fulfil it or not.

It's no joke, there were times where we sitting there and it was not good at training. I was thinking to myself 'how have we gone from being provincial champions to this?'

Kieran McGeary of Tyrone with his PwC GAA/GPA Footballer of the Year award for 2021 at RTÉ Studios in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile 

"Every day you walked you walked through the gates you didn't know what was the story. Our medical team at that time were phenomenal...


"The attention to detail they had, right from the start of the year, but particularly at that time where they just everything into place.


"We were getting slated left, right, and centre, but we were still in the position to win the game. That was the main thing, it was the main thought in the back of everyone's head - that we could still do this."

Tyrone did receive some criticism at the time, with many claiming they had not handled the situation well.

Such opinions were certainly prevalent in punditry circles, something that led to a few infamous moments on our television screens.



Sean Cavanagh and Peter Canavan, appearing on RTÉ and Sky Sports respectively, repeatedly went to bat for the county in public.

While he may not have seen it live at the time, McGeary did seem to get a kick out of Cavanagh's confrontation with Pat Spillane. He also admitted that he was glad to have a pair of Tyrone legends present in the public domain to stand up for the county during such incidents.

I thought they were going to go ding dust at one stage the pair (Cavanagh and Spillane) of them! I'd love to see that one so I would, two big men.

Look, Sean had to do what he had to do. He backed up Tyrone, backed up his teammates. He has played alongside a lot of us and wasn't going to let anybody speak negatively of us.

What happened that time happened that time. It could have happened to any team in that position. We didn't want it to happen, our families didn't want it to happen, the GAA didn't want it to happen. Nobody wanted it to happen.

It was something that took place, it wasn't our fault so it wasn't. We had to overcome it. We owe the GAA a massive thank you for considering us to come back into the championship...

For a long time we had nobody representing Tyrone doing punditry. I suppose were subjected to a bit of slating and we had nobody to back us up.

It's nice to have the two men there. Two very, very professional guys at what they do, two great commentators that need no introduction and deserve to be there. Both speak very highly and intelligently of the game.

I'm glad that they're there and I hope that they stay in that position for quite some time.

Tyrone's attentions will quickly be turning to 2022, with the county hoping to win consecutive All-Ireland titles for the first time in its history.

Considering the way they improved over the course of this year, you certainly wouldn't back against them.

SEE ALSO: Referee In Meath Restarts Play As Team Fails To Emerge From The Dressing Room

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