WHEN a team is preparing for a championship there’s a buzz around the Glen Field in Blackpool like no other.
The great home of Glen Rovers has lain silent and empty for the past 14 weeks.
That all changed last week when the gates were flung open again and the players were allowed back in to begin their preparations for the Cork County SHC and the various other competitions that the club is involved.
“It was great to get back, we were out for the best part of 14 weeks," club chairman Dermot Goggin told the Echo.
“It was a challenging time for everybody, for the players, their families, the community in general, it was also a worrying time hoping that you would not get sick.
“But all the lads came back last Wednesday night in great shape, the Cork players participated in part of the session and there was a good feel around the place.
“A lot of the premises were off-limits, dressing rooms and the players arrived ready to go out on the field.
“Look, all these lads are very responsible, they generally look after themselves and they were doing their own thing during the lockdown.
“I saw it myself, some lads were out running the roads, that sort of thing."
The Glen are bracketed in a group at senior level with the Barrs, Na Piarsaigh and Carrigtwohill in the SHC.
“That’s a very attractive group with the potential for some great games.
“You are going to be renewing rivalry with great rivals, there will be a great Northside derby between ourselves and Na Piarsaigh and a Northside, southside derby with the Barrs.
“We’d be looking forward to playing Carrigtwohill too, it’s a very exciting group and the games will be coming together very quickly.
“We are not sure about what the attendance levels at games might be, we’ll just wait and see because things are changing all the time and we’ll just have to roll with it."
With the Glen having a couple of key players on the Cork panel, Goggin believes that it will be important that the club has them on board for the time that has been allotted to the clubs.
“That’s always a challenge but it would be unfair and unrealistic if we didn’t have those players with us for the championship.
“There’s also the worry of players picking up injuries this time are greater than in the past having been out for so long but, look, we are all in the same boat now.
“All the clubs will need to get game time in too before they start the championship and we’ll be no different."
The club will start the championship as one of the more fancied teams again, having been champions in the recent past and losing finalists last season.
“Obviously, we’d be confident of doing well again, I know the championship this time will be different.
“There will be a different flavour to it, we don’t know the format as we speak and it’s definitely going to be intense.
“But the lads in charge, Ritchie Kelleher, Ian Lynam, Gavin Moylan, Dermot O’Callaghan and Graham (Callanan), they are very experienced at what they do and they will have the lads ready when the time comes.
“We were not too far away last season so we’ll be going again."
Goggin accepted that the Covid crisis was a major challenge for everybody.
“It was and for us as a club it was challenging. Financially, it was challenging too, our complex here was closed and generating finance was a non-runner.
“But there was a great community spirit here in Blackpool, people look after each other. There will be challenges going forward too but we will meet them head-on as we have always done.
“The important thing now is that we are able to go back to the Glen Field, get the players ready for their games over the coming months."