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Woods only wants a return when it’s safe

TYRONE Ladies captain Neamh Woods admits she is keen for a return to action, but only when it is safe to do so.

The Drumragh woman and her Red Hand colleagues are unlikely to enjoy a summer of Championship football in 2020 following the confirmation that the TG4 Championship will be rescheduled and will have its format changed, although further clarification on that is to be released by the LGFA shortly.

Tyrone were set to meet Donegal this weekend, but instead players, managers and officials will be polled by the LGFA who are sending out a questionnaire to gauge opinion.

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A return to playing has been discussed since the GAA called a halt to proceedings on March 12th and while players such as Woods want a return, they only wish to do so when the time and conditions are right.

“The LGFA have issued a survey to players to gather responses in relation to return to play. Like all other players, I too want to play games this season however the health, safety and welfare of players is paramount and this must be a priority at this time,” she explained.

It was confirmed over the weekend that the LGFA have studied the Irish Government’s ‘Road Map’ for reopening the country. However, they have decided to ask their own stakeholders several key questions – if club football or county action should take precedence, if there should be a return to inter-county football and what format it may take – before any final decisions are made, including the possible move to a straight knockout Championship.

Until those answers are received and firm decision made, the Tyrone ladies are biding their time with online quizzes and a strict training regime overseen by Sarah Connolly.

“It would be great to have an outline from LGFA of what the season might look like as this would give us something to look forward to and keep us motivated with our individual training and home workouts,” Woods added.

“When playing a team sport we are used to training collectively and therefore keeping in touch during this time is vitally important. We should appreciate WhatsApp and Zoom etc as these are facilities which previous generations of players in any sport never had.

“The prospect of a straight knock out Championship would be exciting and you just never know what can happen on any given day!”
Tyrone officials continue to discuss their own way forward in this current crisis, although the feeling is that club football will certainly be first out off the blocks. Various formats continue to be looked at with the well-being of players – on and off the pitch – and everyone involved the focus, including mental health.

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LGFA CEO Helen O’Rourke commented after the online meeting: “I thank all of our members for their ongoing and continued support in these challenging times, and I compliment them for the tremendous work they are carrying out within their local communities.

“I urge all of you to continue to adhere to the current guidelines in place – and stay safe.

“While we must plan for the future, the health and safety of our members is our main priority at the present time.”

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