All-Ireland SFC semi-final: Tyrone v Kerry moved back to 28 August
The All-Ireland semi-final between Tyrone and Kerry has been moved to Saturday 28 August after the GAA agreed to give the Covid-hit Red Hands the extra week they requested.
The decision comes a day after Tyrone said they could not fulfil the fixture on 21 August due to the volume of cases within their panel.
The Ulster champions indicated that they did not want to drop out of this year’s championship, and that they hoped the GAA would agree to moving the game back another week.
The semi-final move also means the final will now be played on 11 September.
“This revised schedule has been finalised with the integrity of the championship in mind and to ensure that Kerry were not denied a semi-final outing,” said the GAA on Sunday evening.
Croke Park said the decision had been taken following “receipt of additional medical information from Tyrone GAA and subsequent deliberations with the relevant parties today [Sunday]”.
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With Tyrone’s position made clear on Saturday, the ball was firmly in the GAA’s court with many expecting a rescheduling in order to preserve the integrity of its premier gaelic football competition.
Members of the Tyrone camp were hit by the virus before their triumphant Ulster final victory over Monaghan, with multiple further cases coming to light after the entire panel was tested last weekend.
Joint-manager Feargal Logan, who missed the Ulster final due to Covid issues, revealed that one player had been hospitalised by the virus but has since been able to return home.
Third new date for semi-final
Croke Park’s statement arrived just an hour after a statement from Kerry GAA, who conveyed to headquarter their desire to play Tyrone “at the earliest possible opportunity”.
“Kerry is a proud GAA County, rich in the tradition of Gaelic Games which is deeply engrained in all our Clubs and Communities. Every All-Ireland title that Kerry has won, has been hard earned after a tough competitive campaign and we expect this year to be no different,” Kerry’s statement read.
“We empathise with the Tyrone Senior football team who find themselves in this situation as a result of Covid-19 but would also point out the resultant knock-on challenges that our team, management and supporters are encountering.
“We find ourselves in a very difficult situation not of our making. We have explicitly followed all Covid protocols and we have taken every precaution to protect our Players and Management.
“The confusion and uncertainty surrounding our semi-final meeting with Tyrone has undoubtedly hindered our planning and preparation and has also been a very challenging time for our loyal clubs and supporters, many of whom had made travel & accommodation arrangements for next weekend”.
28 August is the third date given to the second semi-final, which was originally scheduled for 15 August before being pushed back by six days.
The final was due to be played at the end of August, ensuring the inter-county season would be brought to a conclusion before the commencement of the club campaign.
However having been moved to 4 September, is has now been pushed back a further week to ensure a two week gap between the second semi-final and the showpiece.
The winner of the contest will meet Mayo in the final, with the Sam Maguire Cup set to leave Dublin for the first time since 2015 after the Connacht champions ended the Dubs’ championship dominance in dramatic fashion on Saturday.