Sligo’s withdrawal undermines integrity of Covid era Championship

I guess it was only a matter of time.

While the daily Covid-19 infection rates are once more on the decline, there have been a number of outbreaks within GAA county panels in recent weeks and at some point this trend risked making it impossible for a county to field a team in a Championship game. That happened last night when Sligo GAA announced that a significant Covid outbreak in their ranks meant they wouldn’t be able to contest Sunday’s Connacht SFC semi-final against Galway.

The Yeats County’s withdrawal from the Championship means that Galway now get a bye straight through to the Connacht final. They could, in light of this, win the All-Ireland having contested just three matches. While such a scenario isn’t unprecedented – that’s how we won Sam in 1950 – it’s certainly a new departure in the modern era.

It also means that – with London and New York not taking part – the Nestor Cup is being contested by just four counties this year and Leitrim are, of course, already out of the picture having lost to our lads last weekend. Either ourselves or Roscommon will also be exiting this coming Sunday.

Sligo’s enforced withdrawal doesn’t mean the Championship can’t continue as planned. It does, though, undermine it greatly. In this regard, you’d have to wonder if, had this happened to one of the big guns, would they have been ushered towards the exit door with the same alacrity?

It’s also surely the case that, if any other counties are forced to make the same invidious choice that Sligo were required to last night, the jig will then be up. Live sport in this ongoing Covid era might be a welcome distraction but if the integrity of the contest is shot to pieces then you’d have to wonder what the point is in continuing with it at all.

15 thoughts on “Sligo’s withdrawal undermines integrity of Covid era Championship

  1. Ah to be fair Willie Joe Connacht has became a three way race the last five years.
    Don’t agree with how easily Sligo were forced to concede the game, would it be the same for Dublin, Kerry, or even Mayo?
    Wouldn’t say this year’s championship is a farce, mostly it has just gotten rid of the dead rubbers we’re used to seeing early on.
    Whoever does win Sam will still have had to beat the winners of the other provinces, and no side that has came through the qualifiers has won in the last decade plus anyways

  2. Well said wj.
    If we are being honest if this happened to any of the big sides like ourselves, kerry, Dublin etc then alternative arrangements would be made to suit.

    Now nobody could claim with a straight face that sligo were connaught or ai contenders but every team in the country can reasonably claim to be contenders until they aren’t.

    All 3 teams left in connaught now will have cause to gripe, rossies and mayo will both point to fact Galway got a bye as an advantage, similarly Galway will be unhappy they didn’t get another match as they will be going in cold to final

    I hope the competitions continue til the end as last weekends action was a tonic but any further progress or victories achieved by forfeit will just leave an empty feeling for me

  3. Dunno why Tomas O Sé is giving out. What’s the solution here? Postponing the game for a week isn’t an option. First of all, most of the Sligo players still wouldn’t be available. Even if they were, what if 3 or 4 Galway players test positive this time next week?

    Telling Sligo to fulfil the fixture anyway by including a handful of club players wouldn’t uphold the competition’s integrity either.

  4. This was always likely to happen to some county, Sligo were not going to beat Galway, they have a very young team and do not have the strength in depth to even put in a meaningful effort against Galway if forced to fulfil the fixture.
    The reality is bigger counties can absorb players missing, if ourselves or the Rossies beat Galway, will it make any difference?

    Dublin routinely beat teams by 15 plus points in Leinster, the championship is unfair expecting division 4 teams to routinely compete against division 1 teams which I think impacts its competitiveness. We were going to have to accept certain unusual events, this will not detract in my view from whoever comes out as victors in December.

  5. I bet if it was Kerry that suffered a serious covid outbreak they’d be be given an extra week to sort it out despite having an abundance of quality players at their disposal yet Sligo with a very small playing population are told play or concede. Yet Toma’s o Shea sticks the boot in to Sligo. No winners in this Sligo gone, Galway going into a final without a match, either Mayo having 3 championship games in 3 weeks (hopefully) or Roscommon having 2 tough games in succession.

  6. As Mayo people I think we all have to extend our best wishes to probably the greatest footballer that ever lived… He’s now in Hospital, he wasn’t a Gaelic Footballer tough, even though he played a bit of it in Mexico during the 1986 World Cup finals, when he got his hand to the ball to deflect it past a somewhat annoyed for whatever reason Peter Shilton in the England goal..Thank God there was no VAR.. it was very similar to a few goals that Diarmuid O Connor has scored for Mayo..A few minutes after that he scored the greatest goal of all time, , and Shilton was twice as annoyed then..No doubt that he’s following the Mayo senior team exploits on GAA GO in Beueos Aries, as all Argentenians have a huge connection with Mayo… So get well soon Diego Maradona, the only man who played Gaelic Footballer in a World Cup finals as of yet.. and get well soon Graham Geraghty as well while I’m at it.

  7. Indeed best wishes to Diego and Graham and the Sligo lads suffering from Covid I feel for them and it reinforces my thinking that the GAA only care about Dublin and Kerry but that’s just my opinion off to Limerick with ye now lads. So we’ll Have a Knockmore man in the White House on Sunday hopefully bringing a bit of normality back to a country gone slightly mad the big question is though will we have a Knockmore man on the Mayo team on Sunday?

  8. Backdoorsam I have question for ya

    Where do u think is kevin macs best position on the field ?

  9. @Spectre best position is probably 11 but he can do a good job at 6 too and has been known to play midfield for Knockmore. Kevin Mc never lets you down but its the managers call.

  10. I love Kevin Mac Backdoorsam and he would be on my starting team all day but I think the Tyrone game confirmed he is not a 6. Best either as a sweeper between fullback and halfback line or half forward winning dirty ball around the middle in my opinion

  11. In fairness if this happened to Dublin, they could field a second team or even a third string team and still probably beat most in front of them. Kerry/Mayo wouldn’t be as lucky but a hell of a lot easier for them than Sligo.

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