All-Ireland SFC semi-final: Tyrone v Kerry pushed back to 21 August because of Red Hands' Covid-19 cases

Kerry and Tyrone will now meet at Croke Park on 21 August
Tyrone and Kerry met in the semi-final two years ago

Tyrone's All-Ireland SFC semi-final against Kerry has been pushed back to Saturday 21 August because of Covid-19 cases in the Ulster champions' camp.

The match was scheduled to be held this Sunday, a day after the first semi-final between Dublin and Mayo.

Tyrone's panel was hit by Covid in the build-up to the Ulster Championship final, and the entire squad and management were tested on Saturday.

The rescheduling of the game means the final will take place on 4 September.

Red Hands joint-manager Feargal Logan was among those to miss the provincial decider against Monaghan due to a Covid issue, with players Frank Burns and Tiernan McCann also unavailable.

A number of players are be self-isolating following the outbreak with several squad members understood to have tested positive.

A crowd of 24,000 is scheduled to attend the Kerry v Tyrone semi-final but a GAA statement said it would hold discussions with the Irish Government to see whether such attendance figures can remain in place for the revised fixtures.

The throw-in time for the 21 August contest - which takes place the day before the All-Ireland Hurling Final - is yet to be confirmed by the GAA.

Crowds have been able to return to Croke Park in meaningful numbers in recent weeks
The GAA says it will hold discussions with the Irish Government over whether 24,000 will still be able to attend the Tyrone v Kerry All-Ireland semi-final

The GAA said the decision had been taken "following a status report received by the GAA relating to positive Covid cases in the Tyrone panel".

"This change will necessitate the GAA Football All-Ireland final being re-arranged to take place on Saturday September 4," added the GAA statement.

"The GAA Football U20 final meeting of Offaly and Roscommon will proceed as planned at Croke Park at 1.30pm on Sunday with the same permitted attendance.

"The GAA will continue to liaise with the appropriate government departments and officials to discuss the practicalities of having these revised fixtures included under the statutory instrument that has facilitated the increased attendances of recent weeks."

As a result of the rescheduling, the Ladies' football semi-final between Cork and Meath has been moved to Croke Park having initially been set for Tuam Stadium and that game will take place after the under-20 final.

The All-Ireland Ladies Junior Football Final is scheduled for 4 September at Croke Park and the GAA said it would "also be working with the LGFA [Ladies Gaelic Football Association]" on this issue.

Tyrone GAA "welcomed" the decision to postpone the semi-final.

"We will continue to comply with all guidelines from the PHA [Public Health Agency] and Croke Park, keeping the health of the players and management as our primary concern," said a Tyrone statement.

Kerry GAA described Monday's announcement as "a disappointment to us all" but added that "we acknowledge we are all living in very challenging times and Covid continues to circulate in our communities necessitating the decision".

Deferral 'desired outcome for Tyrone' - McGinley

Antrim manager and former Tyrone All-Ireland winner Enda McGinley told BBC Sport Northern Ireland that Croke Park had little option but to postpone the semi-final for six days.

"Kerry no less as well will want and everybody wants a proper contest for an All-Ireland semi-final," added the former All-Star speaking before the GAA's announcement.

"There is precedent as well with the Under-20 Hurling Final being postponed.

"From looking in from the outside, that team hasn't been able to prepare well last week and that already puts you a wee bit on the back foot.

"From a Tyrone point of view a deferral would be the desired outcome. I can't imagine they'll say that or they might not even ask for that but I think the numbers are significant and that will be communicated to Croke Park."

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