"The GAA should give Tyrone another week in the interests of fair play" - Colm O'Rourke
The All-Ireland senior football championship was on Saturday turned upside down by the news that Tyrone will not be able to fulfil next weekend's semi-final fixture against Kerry.
Crucially, the statement didn't act as an outright forfeit of the game, Tyrone honing in on 'next Saturday' and not straying anywhere beyond that. Obviously, it's the hot topic of the day and speaking on The Saturday Game's coverage of Mayo-Dublin, Tomás Ó Sé, Colm O'Rourke and Cora Staunton gave their views on the debacle.
The Kerryman says it's a disaster for all involved before questioning how the Tyrone players went down with the virus and how many players are down with it.
"It's a disaster for everybody involved, the counties, the players, the championship," began Ó Sé.
"Part of me says let's wait and let's play it for the good of the competition. Another part of me says 'leave it off,' what happened to Sligo last year? It will hold up the clubs as well. At the same time, it would dilute the championship completely if Tyrone weren't to play this game. The questions have to be asked though. Why wasn't this (the threat of Covid-19) boxed off like it was in other counties? How they went down is a big question for me as well. Either way, the GAA need to make their decision in the next day or two, because there are too many things at stake here."
"Alright Dr O Sé over there," replied Colm O'Rourke with typical sharpness and when you consider that these are amateur players who aren't paid and have to work, you'd have to agree with him and his more considerate stance for Tyrone's situation.
The Meath man then called on the GAA to offer Tyrone an extra week to get their house in order, before batting for the character of the county's management team.
"Obviously the health and well-being of Tyrone players is paramount. Long Covid has had serious detrimental effects on a lot of people. I would hope that in the interests of fair play that the GAA give Tyrone at least another week," said O'Rourke.
"I don't think it would kill anyone to wait for the All-Ireland. I think Kerry could be helpful in this regard too, by saying we would give an extra week, we're prepared to wait, we don't want to get into an All-Ireland without playing Tyrone, we want to win the All-Ireland by beating all the teams.
"I think Tyrone should be given the benefit of the doubt here. Feargal Logan and Brian Dooher are honourable men, if they are saying they're not able to play, I think the GAA should give them this extra week. I don't care how they got it. People are saying they were out socialising or whatever, I don't believe that for a minute."
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) August 14, 2021
This won't be the last you'll hear of this one.