'Players are around long enough to know they have to keep tipping away'

'Players are around long enough to know they have to keep tipping away'
Cork manager Ephie Fitzgerald speaking to his players after a league win over Westmeath. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

THESE are unusual times for athletes and managers across Leeside.

With sport locked down due to Covid-19, everyone is trying to stay sharp for when they do return to the training and playing pitches.

We caught up with the football community to see how they are coping...

EPHIE FITZGERALD (Cork ladies football manager):

How are you and your team preparing and training now?

“The girls are doing their work individually at home.”

What type of programmes are they following?

“At the moment the girls are doing two to three days running on the road and then a HIT session in their gardens which involves sprinting with short breaks. They’re doing two bodyweight workouts focusing on building strength and one yoga mobility session.”

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

“Staying in contact is not a problem. We had a video call meeting a few days ago. Michelle Dullea, our S and C coach has given the girls a programme to work on. Our girls are extremely self-motivated and they will carry out Michelle’s instructions religiously.

“With regards to skills, each girl has at least one football to work with.

“The biggest problem we are facing as coaches and indeed as a country is not really knowing what the immediate future holds for us. Although we were in strong contention for reaching a league final, I was in full agreement with the LGFA for making an early call on postponing the leagues for this year.

“The health and safety of everybody takes precedence over everything else. My personal opinion for what its worth is that it is going to be very difficult to hold major sporting events until a vaccine is found. We can play football or indeed any other sport next year but we can never replace a lost life.”

SHANE RONAYNE (Tipp and Mourneabbey coach):

How and where are your team preparing and training now?

“The players from both teams are training at home for the most part and also they are doing runs within the recommended 2km from their houses.”

What type of programmes are they following?

“Mourneabbey had just returned to gym work the week before the ban on training came in, they are doing a home gym programme involving bodyweight exercises and they also have a fitness circuit which they can do at home.

“Tipperary were obviously at a different stage in their season having played five league games. They are also doing a home gym programme involving bodyweight exercises, they have been given a fitness circuit, speed work sessions, they are doing some road running and have been given wall ball work to do to maintain skills and improve weaker skills.

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

“The players on both squads are very driven individuals and this inner drive is helping them to keep working hard. It is difficult though to work as hard as you need to when training by yourself but hopefully they can keep it going. Players are in constant contact with the management through text and calls regarding what they need to be doing.

“The single biggest issue is the lack of information as to when and if we will be playing again, we have no idea and this uncertainty may lead to motivation levels dropping. Thankfully this hasn’t manifested itself yet as we can see from our monitoring app Actimet and the running app Strava the players are doing loads of work.

“We will also over the next two weeks hold individual player meetings through video link (these were obviously meant to be in person originally) with the players to see where there are at in terms of their own game and what they need to improve on.”

PAUL O’DONOVAN (Nemo):

How are you and your team preparing and training now?

“We started back mid-February, having only finished last season the first week in January, so we had three weeks done before everything was pulled. We played one league game against Carbery Rangers at the end of January which we won, despite having no training, but had others postponed.”

What type of programmes are they following?

“Our strength and conditioning coach, Cian Sisk, sent out schedules to the lads and you’d hope they’re tipping away on their own. The plan is for everyone to be in the same boat when we start off again.”

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

“I think I’ve posted twice on our WhatsApp since we split up. Basically, I said just to try and tip away. They’re old enough and have been around long enough to know that they need to do something.

“It’s very hard to police when you’ve got 30-odd guys on a panel and they’re all doing their own thing.

“But, the lads are good like that. Some were asking for stuff and that tells me they’re anxious to do things.”

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