Hurling clubs in Cork are trying to stay fit and sharp in the sporting vacuum 

Hurling clubs in Cork are trying to stay fit and sharp in the sporting vacuum 
Glen Rovers’ Patrick Horgan and his club comrades are keeping in touch to train during the current lockdown. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

PLAYERS, team managers and team coaches across Cork are trying to maintain positivity and believe that sooner rather than later they will have a championship to focus on again.

Nobody really knows and the GAA fields remain locked and empty but and, in particular, the players are in a state of limbo.

Here in the first of a week-long series, we look at how various hurling teams are trying to stay engaged.

MARTIN BOWEN (Erin’s Own):

1. How are you and your team preparing and training now?

Firstly, as a group there is nothing at all going on. Caherlag is closed and will remain so until such time we as we get the green light to go back in there.

The players are doing a bit on their own, as much as they can, on an individual basis. Players generally look after themselves anyway and it’s just a case of trying to keep up their fitness levels on their own. We trust them to do the best they can.

Brian Murphy, Bride Rovers, can only watch as Robbie O’Flynn, Erin's Own, fires in a goal at Páirc Uí Rinn. Picture: Dan Linehan
Brian Murphy, Bride Rovers, can only watch as Robbie O’Flynn, Erin's Own, fires in a goal at Páirc Uí Rinn. Picture: Dan Linehan

2. What type of programmes are ye following?

Our physical trainer Cormac O’Connor is very good, he’s a PE teacher and he has given them a programme to follow. There is a What’s App group and that’s done through that.

3. What are the biggest issues you are facing now to keep fit and in contact?

There is no doubt that when the whole thing gets started again match fitness will be the big issue. Players might be physically ft but getting up to the speed of match fitness is a different thing. There will have to be some sort of a lead-in, the opportunity to play a few games before the championship starts, if it starts at all.

You have to be sensible about this, there would be the danger of players getting injured, that kind of stuff. We are in contact with the players without getting them together which you cannot do. Players are good, they know that keeping up their fitness by themselves is good for them mentally too.

Glen Rovers' Robert Downey wins the ball from Na Piarsaigh's David Burke. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Glen Rovers' Robert Downey wins the ball from Na Piarsaigh's David Burke. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

RICHIE KELLEHER (Glen Rovers):

1. How are you and your team preparing and training now?

There’s nothing going on. The Glen field is silent although the players are mad for road. This is like a winter break in many ways. The players are tipping away themselves, they are looking after themselves even if they haven’t got a date to focus on.

You have probably seen some of the lads, Hoggie and Rob Downey doing their own hurling drills at home [and posting clips via Twitter], keeping the eye in, leading the way in that regard.

2. What type of programmes are ye following?

The players have a fitness programme that they are doing, that was devised by Donnacha Mulcahy. They have taken ownership of that and, hopefully, they will have a level of fitness when they come back to us.

These guys are leaders on the field and off it, sensible young men.

3. What are the biggest issues you are facing now to keep fit and in contact?

The big issue is when the season does start is that there will be a lack of match fitness among the players. You just can’t pick up a hurley overnight and start playing a big match.

There will have to be two weeks of a break in period to get that sharpness back. The contact is kept up but everybody wants to be back out on the pitch.

NIALL CROWLEY (Killeagh):

1. How are you and your team preparing and training now?

We are abiding strictly by what’s been laid down. No training as a group, no individual groups training. Fellows are doing their own thing, doing individual drills, hurling off the back wall of their home, that kind of stuff.

Cathal Deane of Killeagh/St Ita's in U21 action last season. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Cathal Deane of Killeagh/St Ita's in U21 action last season. Picture: Howard Crowdy

2. What type of programmes are ye following?

The players have their own individual programmes, my son Colm is looking after that side of things, trying to keep their fitness levels up.

3. What are the biggest issues you are facing now to keep fit and in contact?

Match fitness, I think it’s accepted that will be the big thing when it starts up. A player might be physically very fit but getting up to the required levels of fitness for a championship is a different issue. You would have to give teams an opportunity of getting that sharpness back, two weeks or so.

CIARAN CRONIN (Imokilly):

1. How are you and your team preparing and training now?

I suppose we are a bit different in so far as we don’t play championship until September. So, the players are with their clubs now. We had played a few practise games before this started but that’s all stopped now.

Our players are like everybody else, not knowing when they can get back on the field.

Imokilly’s Bill Cooper with Paul Haughney of Midleton. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry
Imokilly’s Bill Cooper with Paul Haughney of Midleton. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry

2. What type of programmes are ye following?

The players have a fitness programme that they got from their clubs and our own trainer Alan Morrissey is doing things with them too, over the phone, What’s App.

They are hurling off the ball at home, trying to stay sharp, doing a couple of K runs, weights, that stuff.

3. What are the biggest issues you are facing now to keep fit and in contact?

When it does start our players will be out with their clubs first but it cannot start overnight. There will have to be leeway given and I believe the championship format will have to be changed. How that affects us, I don’t know, we’ll wait and see but in the meantime, we are in contact with the players all the time and trying to keep the mood positive.

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