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GAA Managers' WhatsApp Group Went 'Very Quiet' After Paddy Tally Ban

GAA Managers' WhatsApp Group Went 'Very Quiet' After Paddy Tally Ban

Earlier this year, Paddy Tally was one of four inter-county managers hit with a ban for breaching the GAA's Covid-19 training guidelines.

Tally, who resigned as Down manager earlier this month after a three-year term, now says he regrets gathering the panel for that training session.

"We felt it was an innocent enough thing to do; just to get boys together, show them what to get on with, and then step back. It was nothing heavy, just getting players out," Tally told BBC Sounds' The GAA Social podcast.

paddy tally down inter-county managers whatsapp group

"At that stage, we were told we'd be back in training in four or five weeks. We just wanted to get a head start, get a bit of stuff done, and then we'd step back until the proper date was in place.

"We didn't break any rules. We were visited by the local PSNI. They examined what we were doing, and said 'There's no rules being broken here'. They wished us all the best and then left.

Paddy Tally regrets prohibited training session

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"Obviously, we were reported by someone who saw us training.

"It wasn't a legal thing. It was the GAA that decided we were bringing the game into disrepute.

"We knew a lot of teams had been out before Christmas, had got their trials done, and their squads in place.

"We were heading into January going, 'We haven't done a thing here. We're well behind the ball'. We felt we needed to do something. Looking back, I wish I hadn't."

27 June 2021; Down manager Paddy Tally speaks with his players after the Ulster GAA Football Senior Championship Preliminary Round match between Down and Donegal at Páirc Esler in Newry, Down. Photo by Philip Fitzpatrick/Sportsfile
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Around the time that the prohibited training session took place, Tally says he was inundated with requests for challenge games. Once the Tyrone man was hit with the ban, a WhatsApp group populated by inter-county managers went silent.

"At that time, I was being contacted by lots of managers looking to see would I take challenge games," he said.

"We did have [our own inter-county managers' WhatsApp group].

"It got very quiet after I got banned, funny enough. I was thinking, 'Come on boys, this is the time to get behind me here'. The minute that I was found out, the WhatsApp group went underground.

"There wasn't one contacting me saying, 'Listen, we're behind you. We're at it'. It just went quiet.

"The dog on the street knew what was going on.

"A couple of coaches we spoke to after we'd played matches, told us that they'd been at it (training) for weeks before we started.

"We knew that we were on the back foot straight away. You're trusting the players to be doing a lot of the work themselves. In fairness, they did; the players didn't come back in a bad condition.

"I think we were on the back foot, and our first two performances showed that when we went to play Meath and Mayo."

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paddy tally down inter-county managers whatsapp group

PJ Browne
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