AFTER months in the wilderness due to Covid-19, Cork senior hurler Robbie O’Flynn is eagerly awaiting a return to competitive action on the field of play.
“It is savage," says O’Flynn to The Echo when he is asked about how happy he was to see the comeback to collective training on the pitch.
“Everyone is chomping at the bit now to get back. You can even see it in club training there now, everyone is fired up and ready to do.”
For athletes who are used to training routinely at an elite level such as O’Flynn, the last number of months have been quite different from the norm.
As to what he was doing during the lockdown to keep himself going with regards to maintaining his fitness, O’Flynn outlines.
“I was lucky to have a brother who loves hurling as well. So we were always just pucking around and doing our own kind of running and gym work.
“So it was really just to do something every day and keep the body ticking over was the main thing.”
First on the agenda for the Erin’s Own clubman is the Cork Senior Hurling Championship, with his side in a round-robin group containing Blackrock, Bishopstown and Newtownshandrum.
A clash with the latter will bring back some fond memories for those associated with the Glounthaune-based club. That was because in 2007, Erin’s Own defeated Newtownshandrum to secure the Cork SHC title.
Now the present generation of Erin’s Own players including O’Flynn will be keen to get a positive result of their own against the same opposition and the other pair of sides to progress in their group.
“It is a tough group”, says O’Flynn when asked about the sides which Erin’s Own will face in Cork championship action over the coming weeks.
“It is a cliché, but we have to take it one game at a time. Blackrock is definitely the most important game, not because it is the first but just to get over that would be huge.
“Everyone is really looking forward to it and we are going to give it everything.”
On an overall level with regards to the targets overall for the 2020 Championship from an Erin’s Own point of view, O’Flynn is optimistic that his club can have a strong campaign, over the next couple of weeks and months.
“We have great structures put in place. We have a manager back in Martin Bowen and Donal O’Rourke. They have done savage work throughout the year and everyone has really bought into it.”
When the club commitments have concluded, the inter-county panel members such as O’Flynn will then turn their attention to the Cork cause. A clash in the early stages of winter against Waterford is what lies in what from a Cork perspective.
O’Flynn feels that the Rebels will be ready.
“Unfortunately I think I am missing it because of a sending off so I will have to probably be watching on.
“But hopefully the next day now, playing against Waterford will be huge. It is where everyone wants to play and everyone wants to be. So hopefully everyone stays fit during this club period and comes back stronger again.
“It is all or nothing. Cork is kind of known as a Championship side. We are definitely trying to go for that.”
O’Flynn feels the Rebels can be there or thereabouts again this year in terms of the race for All-Ireland hurling glory.
“What you have is a group of older lads, the likes of Hoggie and Seamus Harnedy and Nash. They are great fellas to be looking up to.
“But there are lads like myself who are saying we should be driving this on as well as the older lads.
“It is getting exciting now and hopefully now we can push on.”
Robbie O’Flynn was speaking at the launch of the Hurlsafe Visor at Valley Rovers GAA club recently.
When the Hurl Safe visor is worn, by both player and opponent, it reduces the spread of droplets, if a player has or is a carrier of Covid-19 virus.
Although returning hurling action will be for now in what is considered a new normal, young players like O’Flynn will be just delighted to get back out onto the field of play and to enjoy the games which they love so much.