UP until the 12th of March, the Cork senior ladies footballers were on course to defend their Division 1 league title but like many other sports competitions, the competition has been thrown into disarray.
The camp has ceased all training activities and, for now, a season that was progressing nicely, hangs in limbo with the coronavirus outbreak, but Cork vice-captain Ashling Hutchings insists the camp is trying to remain positive and focused on the season ahead.
“Despite all that is going on I think the feeling in the camp is positivity and focus. We know that a lot is unknown and the remainder of this year’s football is uncertain, but we know there are a lot of things we can control.
“We don’t know yet when/if we’ll be back training or even if the season will continue but I for one want to ensure I am fully ready for that day. Everyone is working hard so that when we do get back we will be in a good place to hit the ground running.
“The main focus is to keep everyone on track and motivated. This is a hard time and everyone’s situations are different, so supporting our teammates as much off the pitch as we would on it is hugely important and something management and us as players are focusing on.”
Cork were due to play Galway in a top of the table clash on March 22. A win would have secured Cork a place in the League final on April 19, but the league now looks likely to be scrapped with the Covid-19 situation set to get worse before it improves. Hutchings feels foregoing the league is a minor sacrifice in the grand scheme of things.
“For sportspeople, we want to be competing at the highest level and growing and improving. We want to fight to be the best but I think right now there are far more important fights going on and while we would be disappointed if it’s scrapped, if it’s necessary then that’s what has to happen.”
The impact of the Corona Virus going forward on the ladies football calender is unknown, but Hutchings is confident the Ladies Football Association will work to ensure some sort of championship structure will take place.
“Like everything else that has been put on hold, adjustments to the norm will have to be made. What the layout and structure would l look like I don’t know but I’m sure where possible there will be a championship of sorts.
"The LGFA are huge drivers of promoting women in sport and I think if it’s anyway plausible they will try to ensure all counties get the opportunity to demonstrate and showcase the best female footballers in their counties.”