All-Ireland SFC semi-final: Tyrone could be forced to withdraw from Kerry game because of Covid cases says chairman

Tyrone's last contest with Kerry in June saw the Red Hands suffer a League semi-final hammering
The Tyrone football squad have been hit by a number of Covid-19 cases

Tyrone GAA chairman Michael Kerr says the county may be forced to withdraw from their All-Ireland SFC semi-final against Kerry because of the Covid-19 cases in the camp.

On Monday, the GAA said that the semi-final scheduled for this Sunday had been put back six days to 21 August.

However, Tyrone chairman Kerr revealed that the Red Hand County had requested a two-week postponement.

"This is about player welfare," said the Tyrone chairman.

"It's clear that our players will not be ready to engage in a high-intensity Championship game so soon after being directly affected by this virus."

Tyrone to make semi-final call at weekend

Speaking at a Tyrone county board meeting, Kerr added that the Red Hands might not be in a position to field a team for the eagerly-awaited contest with Kerry which if it turned out to be the case, would give the Kingdom a bye into the decider with either holders Dublin or Mayo.

"The welfare of the players is paramount. The management will not be making a decision until this weekend on whether we will be capable of fulfilling the fixture."

Carrickmore club-man Kerr questioned Croke Park's position on limiting the postponement to one week.

"They have decided that the final should be pushed no further back than Saturday 4 September, but if something similar was to happen in the meantime to any of the two panels competing in the final, that date would disappear into the twilight as well.

"While we appreciate the postponement, which now allows us to be able to field a team, our request to have the match put back until the following weekend would have allowed us to be able to field a team that would be properly prepared and be in a position to do itself justice in an All-Ireland semi-final.

"We are grateful to have the opportunity to be able to field, but by the same token, disappointed that Croke Park have not given us sufficient time to prepare a proper challenge for Kerry."

Tyrone joint-manager Feargal Logan
Tyrone joint-manager Feargal Logan had to miss the Ulster Final because of a Covid issue

The Tyrone chairman added: "We are also conscious of the fact that the situation is not an ideal one for Kerry, and the uncertainty creates difficulties for their preparations for this important game."

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.

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 self-isolating following the outbreak with several squad members understood to have tested positive.

In addition to deferring the semi-final by six days to 21 August, the GAA also said earlier on Monday that the All-Ireland Final was being put back a week until Saturday 4 September.

However, at that stage there was no indication that Tyrone had in fact asked for a two-week postponement of their semi-final.

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