Tony McEntee: No chance Tyrone can overcome Covid obstacles

While comparisons between how the Sligo case was handled last season versus the week-long delay granted to Tyrone prompt accusations of double standards by the GAA, McEntee, who took over Sligo this season, isn't so sure
Tony McEntee: No chance Tyrone can overcome Covid obstacles

Sligo manager Tony McEntee. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Sligo football manager Tony McEntee thinks Tyrone have no chance of overcoming their Covid-hit preparations for the delayed All-Ireland semi-final to beat Kerry.

Few counties have been as badly hampered by the virus as Sligo, who had to withdraw from the 2020 Championship without kicking a ball, and whose promising under-20 team were badly hampered in losing to All-Ireland finalists Roscommon last month.

While comparisons between how the Sligo case was handled last season versus the week-long delay granted to Tyrone prompt accusations of double standards by the GAA, McEntee, who took over Sligo this season, isn't so sure.

 

"From the outside, it looks that Sligo is a small county, nobody really [thought it] mattered whether Sligo were playing or not in last year's game against Galway, and now we have suddenly a big game, an All-Ireland semi-final, the thing seems to be different," he told the Irish Examiner's Gaelic Football Show podcast.

"I'm not quite so sure if that narrative is actually true. Last year, there was a lot of confusion and uncertainty in how the GAA were going to deal with Covid. It's also the case last year that I'm not so sure that Sligo asked for a postponement for that game. 

"It may have been the case that there was so much noise about it the GAA weren't going to offer any postponement, that they never actually requested that postponement in the first place.

"If there was a postponement last year, it would've only been for a couple of days or a week at max. Would there have been any difference anyhow postponing that game for a week (given the Covid situation in the squad)?

"So if that is actually true, then maybe the GAA isn't so much at fault behind this."

The case of the Sligo under-20s, who lost their semi-final 4-13 to 2-12 against surprise Connacht champions Roscommon, is more pertinent to Tyrone's struggles, according to McEntee.

"Those players who had recovered from Covid and were actually playing were only a shadow of themselves. There was quite a few of them including some of their star forwards, and they never really had a chance against Roscommon.

"Therein lies the problem that Tyrone will face next week. This game will go ahead regardless, I don't think it'll be deferred another week. 

"But they'll have no training done and the physical or mental impact that Covid has had on those players will be present on the day and they'll not know it until that ball is thrown in and you're trying to make those runs and you're trying to make things happen and they're simply not happening.

"This Tyrone team is simply not going to be prepared in any shape or form. While us Ulster counties like to have something to fight for and have a chip on our shoulders, they'll certainly have all that when it comes to Covid, the reality is they can't be prepared as well as they want to be."

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