Bevan Duffy is disappointed by the decision to no longer class inter county players as elite
Half way through February and the GAA calendar should be in full swing, with the National League firmly in players sights as they look to earn a place on their counties starting 15 during the summer heat of the championships.
Preparation is key if players are to achieve those targets and be competitive, yet 2021 has been as tough a pre-season as will ever bee seen in the GAA, with an actual start date seemingly changing every few weeks.
The most recent announcement by Croke Park sees a return to action put on hold once more, with no confirmed date for a return to inter county training and the captain of the Louth Senior footballers last year Bevan Duffy worries that date will continue to be pushed further and further down the road.
“I was a bit surprised” he said of the news announced last week, “it is very frustrating wondering when this thing is going to end and when we will get back. I’d hope April 4th is the date we can go back into collective training but after all of these recent changes who knows.”
Duffy and his fellow teammates have been working hard behind the scenes since before Christmas ahead of a resumption, but with everything centred around a March date the news of a delay has significantly affected their preparations.
“We were sort of doing a lot of individual training ourselves with programs using any sort of gym equipment we can get access to, doing road running during the week and grass running at the weekend putting a lot of effort in.”
“It was in heavy blocks for the last five or six weeks and was all based on getting back onto the pitch on the original date and that has been pushed back again and again, so while those few weeks are obviously going to benefit us, you can’t do that sort of work for another six weeks.”
After such a successful trial last year, the St Fechins clubman was disappointed to see GAA activity no longer exempt from level five restrictions, knowing first hand that county players will always make the effort to keep everyone involved safe.
“You just have to be responsible as an inter county player, it was handled well last year throughout the whole thing and was a huge benefit to players who in turn did act responsibly and done what needed to be done.”
“I have no doubt that would be the case again but unfortunately it doesn’t look like that is going to happen right now and we won’t see games for a couple of months.”
The wily forward would love the opportunity to entertain fans looking for a lift during these times of isolation but was respectful of the government’s decision if it means getting the country out of the crisis at hand a little quicker.
“To a point I can understand their argument but that doesn’t mean I necessarily agree with it, I feel there is no reason why we couldn’t go back as inter counties working away and providing some sort of spectacle for fans up and down the country in April.”
“That prospect looks gone for at least another month, but these are the experts and they are the ones getting paid to make the decisions and we have to respect their decision, if it means that we will get closer to being in the clear by May or June and back to some sort of normality then so be it.”