By Niall Gartland
Monday marked the long-awaited return to collective training for clubs in the North, but questions remain about how the upcoming season will unfold. Accordingly, we’ve sought the views of a number of Tyrone club players on their hopes for the year ahead.
Here, Galbally Pearses’ Seán Murphy answers our questions.
1. How has the latest lockdown been for you and Galbally?
The latest lockdown for me personally was a lot tougher than the first one. The first lockdown was easier to take as there was huge uncertainty around the whole virus. One year on we aren’t really any further on with anything, businesses are still shut down, football still affected and you can’t even go anywhere to ease that frustration such as weekend breaks etc.
I have been trying to focus on personal development in this time such as creating good habit routines that I can really benefit from when everything opens up again. I have been making the most of a difficult situation. It’s been extremely frustrating for all the Galbally lads as I’m sure it has been for any GAA player. You can’t do anything really bar wait for any openings from an inept government,
We have been biding our time and trying to keep things ticking over with road running and with home gyms/home workouts although it’s become very monotonous; everyone has been chomping at the bit to get back.
2. The GAA released its revised calendar last week – what did you make of it from a club players’ perspective?
There is still a lot of uncertainty regarding the whole thing. Are they making club players wait another five months before they can play competitive games? If this is the case then its ridiculous but it would come at no great shock; granted it is extremely hard to please everyone but there are more club players that county players.
There are going to be a lot more players disappointed with the decision to play it county-first. County football is obviously huge but in terms of where the nation is and how deprived GAA players have been of football, they got this one wrong in my opinion.
3. Do you feel the Tyrone CCC did a good job with last year’s fixtures? Did you enjoy it and would you like any changes this time around?
I feel Tyrone CCC did their best and managed it well last year, so they deserve credit for fitting in a great season in the short time frame given. It was a superb club championship for entertainment.
My main issue with the Tyrone CCC is how they manage fixtures. It’s Sunday games year in, year out. This leaves all club players with a restricted weekend. Why not play the games on a Friday night or Saturday night? Give the boys a day off on a Sunday to enjoy with their family or partners. Its a simple switch the whole of the county is crying out for and it’s constantly overlooked.
4. What are your hopes for the season ahead? What is your club looking to achieve?
My hope for ALL Tyrone Club players is that we are given a respectful, structured season that is worth the wait . In terms of Galbally, I hope we can build on our last two seasons and kick on from where we were. We have a huge bunch of very talented players; we all know our potential and how far we can go. Its a really tough division but we want to compete and win the major honours.
The good and bad thing about Tyrone’s Division One is that every club goes into each season thinking the same thing as what I’ve just said. We want to give a great account of ourselves and we will see where it takes us.