THE All-County Football Leagues have been suspended due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and nobody can be sure when the action will get underway again.
Gaoth Dobhair’s Seaghan Ferry has written a blog on how he is maintaining fitness with games and collective training prohibited for the foreseeable future:
Little over five weeks have passed by since the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in Ireland was announced by the National Public Health Emergency Team. As expected, the numbers have risen dramatically since and our leaders made the drastic decision to declare a national lockdown until Easter Sunday at the very earliest.
Much can change in the space of five weeks in the world of sport; however, it has arguably taken us five weeks without sport to truly appreciate its significance in our everyday lives. Generally, a five-week gap in the GAA calendar falls only during the festive period, with footballers across the country delighted to let their hair down and rest the bodies before another year of action commences.
There’s a totally different feeling towards this interruption from a player’s point of view, as we would typically start to increase the tempo come the beginning of April.
The second round of fixtures of the All-County League were due to be contested over the weekend, with Glenswilly down to travel to Magheragallon, which was to be our first home game of the season.
It’s a match that I know the squad was looking forward to, as it feels like an eternity since last September, when we last ran out in front of the home crowd in our opening game of the senior championship against St Eunan’s.
In a sport of very fine margins, particularly within this county, the bond of club teammates can often be the difference between success and failure. We’re fortunate as a club to be a very closely knit group, particularly so over the course of the last few years, as we’ve ordinarily been seeing each other four or five times a week between pitch sessions and gym sessions.
The camaraderie within the group has been sorely missed over the course of the last couple of weeks. The majority of the squad is under the age of 23, with a few experienced campaigners like the three McGees, Cass, Dan McBride, ‘Ginger’ and Chris Sweeney there to add a bit of ‘wisdom’.
Those lads are trying their hardest to cling on to their youth, but the reality is that baton has been passed on to the younger generation, as well as the lead to the boombox.
We used to make a championship playlist every year, where everyone from players to the management team contributed a song or two.
That tradition was kicked to touch over the last number of years as it always resulted in an utter shambles of a playlist, as the last thing we wanted to hear before a championship tussle was an acoustic cover of Amy Winehouse’s ‘Valerie’, thrown into the mix by the gaffer, Mervyn.
Thankfully the pre-match tunes have since been assigned to a few specific lads to make sure the likes of that doesn’t happen again on championship Sunday.
For the foreseeable future we have to follow the strength and conditioning plan set out by management to the best of our abilities. Without the banter in the dressing room and the desire to push as hard as the man by your side on the training field, it can be a tough ask to get the same quality of work done.
However, there are a number of certainties when these governmentally imposed restrictions are lifted – there will be no place for excuses come September and October when the chips are down in the white heat of battle.
A second certainty is that Amy Winehouse’s vocals will no longer serenade a group of thirty Gaoth Dobhair men in a Magheragallon dressing room.
Seaghan Ferry (Gaoth Dobhair)