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GPA call for 'respect to be shown to amateur status' of Tyrone players amid Covid uncertainty

The Ulster champions are dealing with an outbreak of ahead of their All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry.

The Tyrone panel pictured ahead of last month's victory against Donegal in the semi-final of the Ulster Championship.
The Tyrone panel pictured ahead of last month's victory against Donegal in the semi-final of the Ulster Championship.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

THE GAELIC PLAYERS Association has issued its backing to Tyrone amid the ongoing uncertainty that surrounds their All-Ireland senior football semi-final against Kerry.

Ahead of a game that was originally scheduled for this Sunday at Croke Park, the Tyrone panel has been hit by an outbreak of Covid-19.

The clash with the Kingdom was subsequently deferred by six days to Saturday 21 August, with the final pushed back to Saturday 4 September.

However, doubts remain over Tyrone’s participation, with joint-manager Brian Dooher stating yesterday that the Ulster champions want their semi-final delayed by another week.

According to Dooher, Tyrone could struggle to field a team against Kerry as approximately half the panel are currently unable to train. He added that a withdrawal from the championship is “definitely” a possibility.

In a statement released this morning, GPA CEO Tom Parsons said they intend to liaise with GAA bosses to ensure that the welfare of the Tyrone players is prioritised.

“The Gaelic Players Association have been, and continue to be, in ongoing contact with the Tyrone senior football squad through their GPA rep since the issues surrounding positive Covid-19 cases arose,” said Parsons.

“Their health and wellbeing is our primary concern. We are also in contact with the Tyrone senior football management and share their player welfare concerns.

“It’s important to note that players will always feel a deep sense of responsibility to play the game, represent their county and supporters, and will no doubt want to fulfil the All-Ireland semi-final fixture.

“However, it is imperative that their health and wellbeing is the priority in this situation. As such, we have offered support to the Tyrone squad through our comprehensive health screening.

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“We will consult closely with the GAA to ensure adequate time is allowed to assess the welfare of players before a decision can be made by Tyrone.

“Above all we ask for respect to be shown to the amateur status of the players and that we are all mindful of the four teams who remain in the competition. Players will always want to play, but their welfare must come first in any decision made.”

The All-Ireland semi-finals will begin this Saturday evening at Croke Park when champions Dublin take on Mayo (6pm).

About the author:

Paul Dollery

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