OUR lives have been dominated and dictated by phases during the coronavirus pandemic.
And the theme continues for GAA clubs, who started phase 1 of their return to non-contact training mid-week and are now straight into phase 2 from Monday when full-contact and challenge games will be allowed.
Douglas junior B hurlers were the club’s first team back training on Wednesday following the senior hurlers and footballers 24 hours later, despite the threat of thunderstorms.
The mercury was heading towards the mid-20s and humidity levels jumped over 70 percent making it even more challenging for players on the comeback trail.
Club chairman Aidan O’Connor said both senior teams were looking at organising challenge games from early July on as every club awaits confirmation of county board fixtures.
“The two senior teams had the place to themselves on Thursday, using the two pitches and the training area,” he said.
Douglas were busy getting organised for the re-opening, which took on a different guise today when under-age players got their opportunity to run off excess energy.
And there’s an update due from Croke Park on Monday about the opening up dressingrooms and possibly clubhouses.
It was evident the whole country was anxious to return judging by the interest in the compulsory paperwork to complete.
“There were on-line teething problems earlier in the week because lads were having difficult completing the health questionnaire. I’d say it was just sheer volumes of people trying to get on to this nationwide system and that’s to be expected.
“There were aspects that you’d pick up as you go along, like having an isolation room for someone who picked up an injury and making sure the PPE was stored properly.
“The questionnaire itself is quite basic and simple, something we’ve been seeing in the last few months.
“It’s telling you that if you’re feeling anyway unwell don’t go training.
“There’s an onus on the player to ensure they haven’t got a high temperature because you don’t attend if that’s the case. We must also keep a record of any particular guy training on any particular night within groups.
“There won’t be any bother once everyone act sensibly and it’s something that we’ve been dealing with over the last three months anyway.
“We all know the importance of distancing and using hand sanitizers. It’s a big change in everything that we do, but we’ll get used to it.”
John O’Keeffe is Douglas’s Covid-19 supervisor for the adult section and he ties in with the teams who provide their own Covid officer.
“All the time we’re conscious of the social distancing and the overlap of players coming off the pitch and others going on it.
“We don’t want a situation where 20 guys going in at the same time as a big number are leaving the pitch. It’s common sense really.
“We’ve a one-way system in operation, where fellows go in one gate and leave by another, all to avoid having any congestion. There’s nothing complicated about it. As soon as you finish your time on the pitch, then you leave before the next crew come in.
“There’s no congregating around cars or anything like that. It’s straight home immediately. It’s all catering for a compilation of records of attendance at training and who was with who in the various groups.
“Then for the next training session the only question you’re asked is ‘has anything changed from the last you trained?'"