CORK ladies football PRO Peter O’Leary hopes the county’s inter-county and club players will see on-field action before the end of the year.
Peter O’Leary is a busy man. When not volunteering to deliver supermarket shopping to the elderly around the Castletownbere area, Cork’s PRO is busily updating the county’s social media accounts.
A steady stream of Tweets, Instagram and Facebook posts detailing daily skills challenges, on-line training webinars and general news are being pumped out on an hourly basis and keeping the Cork ladies football community engaged during these testing times.
The likelihood of inter-county or club competitions being fully completed lessens with each passing day. Covid-19 has put a halt to plans all over the country, but the Cork PRO remains hopeful that the county’s players will get an opportunity to demonstrate their skills before the end of the year.
“At the moment, every county is following the HSE and Government guidelines so the honest answer is no one really knows for sure when we will get back,” Peter O’Leary told the Echo.
“I suppose everyone would love to see a return to action as soon as we can and in whatever guise that will be. I don’t know if that means (in Cork) sticking with our senior group phase or whether we will just move to straight knockout championship format.
“It is a case of wait and see for now and making sure all of our members follow the guidelines set out for their own personal safety. Everything depends on what state the country will be in over the next couple of months to see if there will be any inter-county and club action or not.
“I, like everyone else cannot wait to get back out on the pitch. So, it is important to stay positive and wait for the all-clear. I miss coaching and interacting with the players of course and I even miss getting abuse from the sidelines at this stage!”
It is not just the Cork seniors’ 2020 campaign that has been affected but all of the county’s underage squads as well. Peter O’Leary coached the Rebel U14s to All-Ireland success last year and was heavily involved in this year’s U15s before Covid-19 meant an immediate cessation of all activities.
Prior to that, the Cork U14s had registered impressive wins over Tipperary and Waterford while the Cork U16s got their Munster campaign off to a positive start at the expense of Limerick.
Unsurprisingly, Cork’s underage managers, coaches and players are hoping to see inter-county action before too long. It is the least such dedicated personnel deserve having put in a huge amount of time and effort during their respective pre-seasons.
“The Munster LGFA sent out a letter to our county Secretary recently which was then forwarded on to all of our club secretaries and displayed across all of our social media platforms,” O’Leary stated.
“Munster are hoping to run their various competitions in some format before the year is out. That is an encouraging sign, especially for our inter-county management teams. Cork’s U14, U16 and minor squads but an awful lot of effort into deciding on their squads and working with them over the winter.
“It would be very discouraging for our U14s in particular (not to have any competitions to look forward to) because they lost out on taking part in this year’s Féile as well. It is also the 14s' first year at representing their county while, by and large, many of the U16 and minor panels would have already played inter-county coming up through the age-groups.
“We remain hopeful but then the Munster LGFA are like everyone else and will have to follow whatever HSE and government guidelines are put down. As much as we would all like to be going out training and travelling to matches, we just cannot plan for those eventualities until it is safe to do so.”
There may be zero on-field action to talk about but Peter O’Leary is keeping the county’s ladies football community up to date through Cork’s social media channels. Let’s hope it is not too long before the PRO’s on-line content includes live minute by minute updates of Cork senior and underage team’s exploits.