'I started a bit of running but it's hard when we don't know when we can train properly'

Nemo's Barry O'Driscoll on the frustration of waiting for the season to start and a delayed county final
'I started a bit of running but it's hard when we don't know when we can train properly'

Nemo Rangers' Barry O'Driscoll takes on Valley Rovers' Kevin Canty during the Bon Secours Cork Premier SFC at Cloughdhuv. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

NEMO RANGERS forward Barry O’Driscoll is frustrated by the lack of clarity surrounding the 2021 GAA season and hopes that when plans are announced, that they will go ahead.

Nemo still have the 2020 Senior County Football Championship to conclude and O’Driscoll is unsure when this will place and feels it could have been played last year.

“When decisions are announced about the new season, I just hope there are no twists and turns.

“What annoys me is when people say, ‘we might be back this date or that’, just say something definite, I rather not hear anything until there is a definite answer as to when we can go back.

“I don’t know are people just trying to humour others by giving them ‘maybe’ dates,” O’Driscoll said.

I started doing a bit of running recently, but I haven’t been doing much all along because I don’t see the point when there has been no real indication of when we will be back training.

It’s difficult because I don’t want to be doing too much in case I burn myself out. I’ve been doing a lot of body weights at home.

“The hardest part of trying to stay fit is the fact that there are no pitches I can go running on, I don’t really like running on the roads.

“It’s not good for my legs or ankles.

“We have been given programmes by the club since Christmas and the odd time they might ask us to do a run and show our times.

“I’ve always been a fella that gets myself fit coming into the championship, but now I don’t know when that will be, so my thinking is ‘why am I putting myself through agony for a date that I don’t know?’

“Regarding finishing last year’s championship, I think the best time to do it would be after the first round of championship this year, at least then it gives both teams the chance of having a competitive championship match before playing a final, otherwise I don’t know when it’s going to take place.

“I really felt that the final could have been played last year.

“I understand there were issues surrounding the final being played, but I would have thought that it could have been played.

“They could have put whatever restrictions or stipulations they wanted to on the two teams, just to get it done.”

Barry O'Driscoll lifts the trophy in 2019. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry
Barry O'Driscoll lifts the trophy in 2019. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry

With the recent announcement that the GAA’s player injury fund will not cover players for loss of professional earnings, O’Driscoll feels that this could lead to many players opting against playing the sport.

“It’s ridiculous. I don’t know how you can have an expectation on a national sport that isn’t professional to be carry forward at a high level when a player’s livelihood is potentially at stake.

“That just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. If that’s the case, then they can’t have an argument for the standard of the game slipping or players walking away from the game or deciding to play a different sport.

“If there is a 20-year-old playing rugby or GAA and he gets injured playing GAA and is not covered, his parents are going to say, ‘he got hurt playing GAA and is not getting looked after, he shouldn’t play that sport anymore’.

“The player is going to choose what sport is going to help him.”

O’Driscoll has had a very successful GAA career winning six Senior County Championships, a Munster title and a National League with Cork, but it could have all been so different for the former Cork player had he decided to stick with soccer when he was younger.

I went to Ipswich when I was 15 on three trials. They asked me to sign at the end of the third, which I did, and I missed four or five months of school.

“I can’t remember how long the contract I signed was. There was a lot of Irish lads at the club at the time, the likes of, Cathal Lordan, Shane Supple, Owen Garvan and Billy Clarke but I was a lot younger than them.

“They were all playing with the first team. I didn’t like the digs I was living in because there wasn’t much to do. It’s a quiet place, I didn’t know too many people.

“I got taken out of being at home, where I could literally walk outside the door, turn the corner and go to my friend’s house.

“There were different sports to play here, but at Ipswich, all I would do every day is go to training, have lunch, train again, and then go home in the evening and just be left by yourself.

“I did train with the first team sometimes. I was between several teams because of the age I was at, but I had also pretty much grown fully at the time.

“I could be training with the 16s, 18s, reserves and first team and it’s not like I didn’t enjoy it, but it just wasn’t for me.

“The club were brilliant with me when I said I wanted to leave. They left me go home and think about my decision and someone from the club came over to talk me round, but I’d made my mind up by that stage.

“I always get asked ‘do I regret it’? but, I’m happy with my decision."

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