From Brendan Crossan to Croke Park
Aug 30, 2021 01:00
All-Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final: Kerry 0-22 Tyrone 3-14
In terms of public relations, Tyrone hasn’t been wrong since COVID engulfed the camp.
When their All-Ireland delayed semi-final against Kerry finally started in sunny Croke Park on Saturday afternoon, Tyrone’s players got it right on the famous turf.
They were absolutely brilliant.
If things come to an end, it is better that they end in the press room rather than in the field.
After their one-point overtime victory over the popular kingdom, Tyrone deservedly qualified for the All-Ireland final on September 11 where they will face Mayo.
On the PR side, co-boss Feargal Logan was holding on when questions began to rain down on him from members of the media in the damp amphitheater on Hogan’s downstairs.
COVID. Dead ends. Adjournments. Kerry. Vaccinations.
Everything was going wonderfully – until the ‘V’ word was mentioned.
Maybe it was meant to always go that way.
Brian Dooher, who had joined Logan halfway through the proceedings, didn’t have the patience to head for the post-game briefing.
After a few minutes, the three-time winner All-Ireland striker grabbed his tracksuit top and left the room.
Before it all started, Logan was asked if he was feeling “sheepish”, he answered the question on his own terms.
“Crestfallen? What can I say guys, if we had practiced during the lockdown and played fast and free with the regulations with the COVID situation… but I have to say we did our best and the numbers where we live are important.
“Of course you feel sheepish. Of course, you feel vulnerable. Of course, you feel weak in times when poor health hits your own home or your own community. We have come here deeply respectful of all who have kept us on the road and we do not make this point lightly.
Earlier, Pat Spillane claimed during RTE’s “live” coverage of Saturday’s semi-final that he had proof that all of Kerry’s players had been vaccinated, and explained to his colleague and former player of Tyrone Sean Cavanagh than his former teammates were not.
In less theatrical terms, the same line of inquiry was then laid to Logan and Dooher.
“I think vaccination is another problem,” Logan replied.
“I’ll get there one day with the people who want to get there.
Dooher intervened, “If it happens to us like this… I’m not here… We made a decision based on medical advice.” We weren’t fit for the field. I said we would take the hit [offering to withdraw]; the players weren’t happy that I was shooting the championship for them… I don’t want to go in there like we’re playing a quick game here. It wasn’t quick.
“I don’t want to go into that here. [But] if that’s how it goes and it seems to me while listening to it, I’m in the wrong place… ”
Dooher was gone, as was the precocious calm of that press briefing.
“I am very happy [to talk] on the football situation, ”added Logan.
“The vaccination, I will talk to anyone again. It’s been a moving party in terms of age groups – when it’s available, how it’s available, where it’s available, what jurisdiction.
“If anyone wants to talk to me on another day… I’m happy to talk football with Brian, but it looks like we’ll have to wrap it up anyway…”
The top table was soon bare.
Did Tyrone drop the ball? It depends who you talk to, but they sure haven’t let it drop where it matters most – between the white lines.
It bears repeating. Tyrone was awesome. Absolutely awesome.