“We were being used as scapegoats.”
Down manager Paddy Tally believes Down were made a “scapegoat” by the GAA after he received an eight-week ban for training breach. The ban was for a breach of Rule 7.2, which deals with discrediting the Association.
He also claims that other counties were training, while the ban was in place.
Down GAA ban.
In the first week of January, police were called to an outdoor training session in Abbey CBS after Down players were spotted collective gathering at the school.
Ultimately, the police found no Covid-19 restrictions had been breached as Down GAA would be considered an elite team in North Ireland..
However, the gathering still broke GAA training guidelines, hence the punishment handed down.
Tally was initially given a 12-week ban, although this was reduced to eight after an appeal.
Paddy Tally on being made a “scapegoat”.
Despite admitting his side were at fault, the Down manager believes he was used as a “scapegoat” by the GAA.
“There were a lot of breaches of Covid regulations in society that weren’t getting used as much bad press,” Tally told The Brian Carthy Podcast
“We were being used as scapegoats and example of what not to do, which again was uncomfortable.
“It was an error of judgement on my behalf and I do regret taking the players out for that session. As the law was in the North, we weren’t breaking any Covid regulations.
“In the North, we were seen as elite and the law says you could train in groups of less than 15.
“But we did break the GAA rule. Looking back at it now, I wish we just hadn’t done it.”
Paddy Tally on other counties training.
Tally also claimed that other inter-county teams were training and looking for challenge matches during that period.
“That was our first get-together and, to be honest with you, we knew that a lot of other counties were back out doing stuff,” he added.
“And I had been contacted by a number of other managers telling me that they had been doing bits and could we take a challenge match.
“So I thought most other counties that I know are doing it so maybe we should start getting something done.
“It was a little bit of panic on my behalf and an error of judgement.”