THE Cork minor footballers are still waiting to find out when they'll be in action this season but that hasn't stopped the group bonding online and looking forward to brighter days on the field of play.
They've been training remotely in recent months and are now doing a 5k run to support two charities: Marymount University Hospital and Hospice and Pieta. The event, which takes place on Sunday, April 11 with a target of €2,000, came about after a number of players involved sadly lost their club coach lately.
Michael O'Brien was appointed as new manager this season, succeeding All-Ireland winner Bobbie O'Dwyer, and has a crack group of selectors around him, in Donncha O'Connor, Martin O'Brien, Gary Sheehan and Daniel Cronin. Briain Morgan and Brian McCarthy are also in the backroom.
Cork landed the big prize in Croke Park in 2019 after a thriller against Galway, while last season's delayed Munster championship ended in a loss to Kerry in extra time, with no backdoor route due to Covid restrictions. The emphasis under O'Brien, who has a two-year term, will be player development though a deep run into the All-Ireland series would obviously aid that.
It's tricky for underage inter-county set-ups across Ireland this season, with second-level schools competitions cancelled and minimal development squad activity in 2020. But Cork are taking a very positive approach to the year from the outset with this initiative.
They explained: "Those involved with the panel have seen how family members and relatives can be adversely affected by cancer, some have even witnessed first-hand the unbelievable work of Marymount. Our players want to ensure Marymount continues to be the heart of the Cork community and support them.
"During this time of lockdowns, reduced social contacts and not having the chance to fully enjoy the things we love, our mental health can start to suffer negatively.
"On Sunday, April 11, the panel will each run 5km within their 5km radius in accordance with Covid 19 regulations wearing their club colours. The idea behind this is to promote their fundraiser, chosen charities work and encourage others to join them.
"Those who are able can run or walk a 5km in their county or club colours. You can also help promote the work undertaken by these charities by liking and sharing our event on various social media platforms.
"The panel would encourage people to reach out to friends, family or teammates to get involved throughout Cork city and county where we will have players and team mentors taking part in every division.
"Upload a picture of you in your club or county colours using the hashtag #countycharityrun after your completed your run or walk. Alternatively, you may wish to support us or a particular young person by donating through our fundraising link www.idonate.ie/countycharityrun."