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deep regret Championship hit by Covid chaos as Tyrone won't field a team in All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry

Tyrone GAA board said they are "not in a position" to field a team

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Tyrone won the 2021 Ulster title but are set to pull out of the championship. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Tyrone won the 2021 Ulster title but are set to pull out of the championship. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Tyrone won the 2021 Ulster title but are set to pull out of the championship. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Tyrone have withdrawn from next Saturday’s All-Ireland football semi final against Kerry, leaving the Munster champions with a free pass to the final against Mayo or Dublin unless the GAA grants the Ulster champions another delay.

In a statement released by the Tyrone GAA board, it said it was "not in a position to field" due to the impact of Covid on the squad. The match had already been delayed by six days pending the outcome of Covid testing after a large number of players were said to have been affected.

"Having received expert medical opinion on the existing and future health and welfare of the players who contracted the Covid19 virus during the period of the last two weeks, and following consultation with the team’s management, this decision has been made with the greatest reluctance, and with deep regret," the county board statement read.

"It is acknowledged that the decision taken will cause major disappointment and significant inconvenience for the Association, in general, the GAA fraternity of Kerry, and especially for Tyrone’s patrons and supporters, but the welfare and safety of players has been the overriding factor in all considerations of this difficult situation."

Calls from some quarters sympathetic to Tyrone's plight for a longer postponement had fallen on deaf ears. The All-Ireland finals were meant to be wrapped up by the end of August to allow club competitions a clear run.

Unless the match gets a further postponement, Kerry will face a major difficulty in heading into a final without a match since defeating Cork in the Munster decider. But it would be a massive blow to Tyrone after they recently won their first Ulster title in four years, defeating Monaghan in the provincial final in Croke Park.

That day they were without their joint-manager Fergal Logan and a number of players, who were self-isolating due to Covid and last Saturday it was revealed that they were carrying out tests on the panel after further outbreaks.

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