THE Covid-19 pandemic has sent shockwaves right throughout the sporting world, with the Cork Schoolboy Leagues being no exception.
After each team getting a handful of games under their belt, it was disappointing, yet inevitable, when news broke of a halt in play on the sixth of October.
The stoppage could not have come at a worse time for the Joma/ Sportsgear Direct U16 Premier title hopefuls, Douglas Hall. They're second in the standings, boasting three wins and a couple of draws to begin their undefeated campaign.
When speaking with their Head Coach, Kelvin Flanagan, he was quick to heap the praise on his players after their undefeated beginning to the year.
“It’s really been a collective effort to start the season and hopefully we get the chance to get back out there some time soon.”
The side began their season conceding just a goal in the opening three matches, largely due to the excellent work of shot-stopper, Leo Connolly and centre-half, Leon Sahm.
While at the other end of the pitch, the goals have been aplenty as a result of the impressive attacking interplay of Burke, Murphy and Hanley.
As you work your way up the spine of the squad, you begin to notice that the team is littered with talent, including their midfield maestro, Sam Dale who has strung together some impressive link-up play with his ruthless front-men.
“The team struggled over the last few years but we’ve really tried to change the philosophy coming into this season.” “The lads really were working harder than ever throughout the preseason and it’s showed.”
Coming into the year, Flanagan felt that the squad could have been short-handed following the loss of centre-back Lewis Duane through injury in preseason. However, he’s been pleasantly surprised with the strides that the team have made both mentally and physically.
The team have refused to let the circumstances derail them, continuing to lift the standard in training time after time.
“We’ve been fortunate to still get out two to three times a week in correspondence with government guidelines and we’ve made sure the lads’ fitness levels stay high also with strength and conditioning being carried out over Zoom.”
He once again credited his side for their unwavering concentration, even with the season being in flux at the moment.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the way they’ve bought in and have stayed ready over the last few weeks.”
In-form Hall were due to take on title rivals Ringmahon Rangers and Corinthians in successive matches before the hiatus. Flanagan mentioned that his players are still focused on these crucial games and are hopeful they take place in the coming weeks.