IN AN ever-changing world due to Covid-19, some things remain sacrosanct.
Like training on Tuesdays and Thursdays as is the traditional way for amateurs, be they GAA players, soccer or rugby.
Today, the gates of all GAA grounds will be open for the first time since mid-March for non-contact training for adult players.
There’ll be no mad rush, though, because of the intense work behind the scenes in getting everything ship-shape and the strict protocols in place for all involved.
Padraig Tracey, the Nemo Rangers chairman, said they’re re-opening tomorrow.
“We’re going back with our senior and junior footballers, ladies football and camogie.
“In the initial plan we were only going to bring back our adult teams next Monday, the 29, and then blend in the competition teams at under-age the following week.
“It’s all changed now and there’s a greater sense of urgency because of the July 17 starting date for county championships,” he said.
This pandemic continues to be a fluid situation as the events of last weekend testify.
“Last Friday we had the Government review and the GAA up-dated their position on the Saturday, so it changed a lot in recent weeks.
“We’ve had virtual meetings with the managements of all our teams and that’s from the senior footballers down to the U6s.
“We’ve briefed them on the regulations involved, ensuring they’ve all got their Covid-19 representatives in place and they’ll then feed back into an overall club co-ordinator.
“We’ve also checked out all their players regarding their availability in coming back because there are people obviously working on the front line and you’ve also got people with pre-existing conditions that might impact on them.
“Team managers have been working on that and I think we’re very much to speed in that regard.
“Of course, everyone has to follow up the e-learning protocols which they must all undertake and we then have to prepare the site properly.
“That involves getting all the appropriate signage in place, providing hand sanitisers, ensuring everyone knows what their roles are and what is and isn’t allowed.
“Basically, we’ve asked teams to give us what they want in terms of a training slot on the pitch and we’ve allotted times accordingly.
“There’s a designated time for arriving on-site, another for being off the pitch and a third for leaving the grounds to leave the next team in. There’s a lot of coordination involved.
“Ideally, we could have done with a few extra days’ notice instead of landing on us at very short notice.
“We had to have another virtual meeting with the adult managers last weekend and see what they wanted to do this week.
“Father’s Day or no Father’s Day, it just had to be done and hats off to everyone involved.
“No team wasn’t represented and everyone is up to speed and on board. Everyone is aware of their own situation regarding their careers.
“Some people have been out of work since March and others have been working through it.
“Either way everyone knows the reality of where we are and are just doing their best to ensure we have a safe return to training first and then to playing after that. That’s the bottom line."
“Our senior players are doing their own thing, working off their own programmes, and have an opportunity to come together this week.
“There’s a big rush now to get them up to championship mode because there’s not a whole pile of time, having been idle for the best part of three-and-half months,” said Tracey.