CORK defender Mattie Taylor accepts inter-county players are in a privileged position in relation to most other sports.
The 26-year-old Mallow engineer is gearing up for the league’s resumption on Saturday, when Louth visit Páirc Uí Chaoimh for a behind-closed-doors Division 3 game at 4pm.
Taylor, a dynamic wing-back, has been ever-present in Cork’s march to the top of the table though he’s quick to look at the bigger picture.
“Guys are very conscious of what’s going on at the moment,” he told The Echo during the week.
“I suppose we are actually privileged to be able to train and play together. And if inter-county games give the general public a morale boost then I think we’re all in a very good place for that.”
Covid-19 is rampant across the country and Taylor is well aware of its threat.
“There is a risk, when you walk out your front door in the morning.
“We’re looked after very well by Cork. The medical team have brought best practice to ensure we’re safe. Overall, we’re just extra cautious because you don’t want to be identified as a close contact.
“It’s been emphasised to us that if you’re tested positive then you’re out of the two league games and potentially taking more with you.
“It is something we’re consciously watching, restricting our movements and taking a second to think about what situation I could be putting myself into, when going somewhere.
“Luckily enough, I’m working from home at the moment, so it’s not an issue for me really.
“It’s more after work that you have to be a bit more cautious.”
Taylor was one of 16 players who should have been involved in county finals last weekend, helping Mallow against Éire Óg in the new senior A decider.
But their postponements led to a sooner-than-expected return to the Cork fold. Immediately, the focus has to switch, he said.
“I joined up with Cork on Tuesday of last week and I’ve a full week of training at this stage.
“It was a quick adjustment and you have to put the club issue behind you and switch the focus straight into county.
“Obviously, club level is a small bit below inter-county and you’re probably not marking the top forwards either every week.
“I know there are some very good players out there in the club scene, but this is a different level.
“And to get to inter-county sharpness again is the main thing really. In terms of general fitness the number of games we played this season certainly helped in that regard.”
Taylor’s last game was the semi-final win over Fermoy over three weeks ago and Mallow were all agog in anticipation of the big day
“We were building momentum all the time after losing our first game to Kiskeam, but there was obvious disappointment at the final not going ahead.
“There was a good buzz around the club, but you’d wonder will it be possible to gain that momentum again, when the final is eventually played?
“We’d loved to have it played last weekend, but there’s only uncertainty now. We have a good bunch of guys and I’ve no doubt we’ll get the focus back for the final.
“They kept the show going through lockdown and I don’t think there will be any issues with this either.”
Taylor poked fun at the side’s leading scorer Cian O’Riordan, who missed the opening game, but returned to play a leading role.
“He was going very well, but you’d wonder can he get that momentum back again,” Taylor asked, tongue-in-cheek.
This is his third season with Cork, having debuted in 2017, and he’s anxious that it’s not written off at this late stage.
“We had a good year last season and there was a good bit of momentum generated. This year we were going quite well in the league, on the road to promotion and we’re chomping at the bit to get back.”
And rather than taking it game by game or week by week, Cork have eyes on the Munster semi-final against Kerry down the Marina on Sunday, November 8.