James Horan: Ban on panel members attending GAA games is 'outrageous'

The Mayo football manager says players are being "taken for granted"
James Horan: Ban on panel members attending GAA games is 'outrageous'

Mayo manager James Horan: Questioned the number of stewards at games. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

Mayo manager James Horan has claimed the restriction preventing extended panel members from attending games is “outrageous” and takes players for granted.

Currently, the only players who can gain entry to a venue for a Championship game are the 26 men confirmed on the matchday panel. 

Limerick manager John Kiely condemned the protocol following last Sunday’s Munster SHC final while injured Jack Kennedy, who had played in both of Tipperary’s previous games, could not attend their historic provincial football final win this past weekend.

Although hopeful the measure will be loosened as the country moves from Level 5, Horan may face the prospect of informing several stalwarts they will not be among the party travelling to Dublin for Sunday week’s All-Ireland semi-final against Tipperary.

“If you think about that for a minute, and I know it was John Kiely that raised it and we’ve been saying it for quite a while, not allowing the panel to go to games, it is outrageous, to be honest, and I think the players, to a certain extent are being taken for granted, I really do, in a lot of things.

“We’ve guys that have given a decade and, for some of them, more. It may be their second (last) or last time going to Croker or whatever so to have trained all year, giving everything and for them not to be allowed into a venue, it’s outrageous, really. It genuinely is.”

Horan has questioned the number of stewards at games. 

Even with Level 5, to be honest there’s a lot of guys with yellow bibs that are hanging around a lot of stadiums.

“There’s obviously protocols that need to be in place for sure, but you can’t tell me that we can’t have 10 players, that have given a huge amount, social distancing in all those stadiums as well.

“I don’t get it so I think it’s key for an All-Ireland semi-final that full panels (be permitted to attend). It’s a killer for some guys. It’s an absolute killer, to be honest.”

Horan praised the appetite of Mickey Harte for returning to management with Louth so soon after stepping down as Tyrone boss after 18 years.

“I just know Mickey through coming up against him a few times, phenomenal service he’s given to Tyrone, right through minor all the way up.

“To go straight into another county, it wouldn’t be for me now. I said it before, I wouldn’t manage another county in any case in football. It wouldn’t be for me but it just shows you the phenomenal drive that man has, to go straight in, not even to take a breather. One way of looking at it is that it’s phenomenal but it wouldn’t be for me.”

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