“Surprised at Dessie Farrell. Surprised at Banty — not quite as surprised.”
Anthony Daly believes both Monaghan and Dublin should not be allowed to compete in this year’s National League after separate Covid-19 training breaches.
Dublin players were photographed appearing to take part in an organised group training session just a day after the Government and the GAA announced a date for collective training to recommence.
That was followed by photos and videos of Monaghan players training at what was believed to be the end of March.
However, the GAA is poised to rule both bans “null and void” and a bigger sanction may be imposed after the Association conduct a full investigation of their own.
The former Clare captain initially thought “it was an April Fool’s joke” and believes both counties should be banned from competing in the 2021 National League.
“I’m very, very disappointed. The punishment is ludicrous,” Daly told RTE’s Sunday Sport.
“Surely there was a case to maybe drop them out of the National League altogether and make the punishment real for them.
“I was shocked. I actually thought, for the first two hours 10 days ago, that it was an April Fool’s joke. I think it was crazy, crazy stuff.
“Surprised at Dessie Farrell. Surprised at Banty — not quite as surprised.
“I’d have my ear to the ground down around here — there is no way the Clare team are meeting in pods of eight and nine, anything like that. I’d have a fair clue the Galway players are not doing it; the Limerick players are not doing it.
“Just very, very disappointed when I heard it was true.”
However, the two-time All-Ireland winner feels that the GAA should have lobbied to maintain elite status and, as a result of not doing so, this has led to a shorter calendar to fit both inter-county and club games.
“My own opinion, and I would have said this strongly, was that we should have held our elite status,” Daly added.
“It was well-documented that there was problems around GAA games last year but predominantly around county finals.
“I think we could have started our national leagues. We could have allowed our inter-county [players] go back training. We could have kept things on track.
“We would still have been running into early August I’d say but that would have left longer for our clubs. What we all want going forward is the split season.
“We didn’t stick to our elite status. You look at the likes of the League of Ireland – most of them are going home (each night). A small percentage of them are professionals so they’re not in bubbles.
“There wasn’t any problems around the time of the [GAA] championships last year. In terms of Covid there really wasn’t any kind of spread from that.
“I just think we could have moved things on a bit earlier this year.”