By Ronan SCOTT
GERARD Collins has said that Down’s lockdown preparations have eased up as the county is expecting further delays in the season.
The Mourne county men cannot collectively train at the moment but had been uploading their sessions regularly so that management knew that their players were maintaining their fitness.
However, that system has relaxed, according to Collins.
“We have got our GPS units and we have to upload our sessions. We had been uploading our sessions for four or five weeks. But now management, because no one knows when we are going back, they have made the sessions optional.
“They don’t want to hammer us because we would get sick of it. They have relaxed it a bit, which is good. I still try to stick to it as best I can.”
Collins has been a regualr starter on the Down team for five years so he knows what it takes to compete at the highest level.
He misses the competition of playing at the highest level. But there’s more to it than that.
“I miss it, even going to the changing room, and the banter. You miss that.
“I run the roads and I have a small gym here. So I can train. I am trying to get my 5k time down, but I am sick of it. I don’t know how people train for marathons. I find it boring.”
So football coming back would be a great relief for the RGU Downpatrick man. Yet he’s realistic about the return date, and he doesn’t think that the Taoiseach’s suggestion that football could return in July is realistic.
“I read Leo’s statement and he said that on July 20 sport could be back with social distancing. But I don’t know how there could be social distancing. I am a defender, am I going to stand two metres away from the man on the other team and hopes he drops the ball?”
Collins said there’s a lot to consider.
“You have to think about things like players going to away games. They might be sharing cars. They might be with people who are working in a hospital.
“There will be physical contact with the physiotherapist. He’s going to see 10 boys, so there is physical contact there. I just don’t understand how it will work until they get a vaccine.”
Collins said that t running the competitions off in a short space of time could add further complications.
“What happens if someone on your team gets the Coronavirus? Does your whole team have to isolate? Do you get thrown out of the championship? There are too many unknowns.”
He said that he would love to get back to playing but he can’t see how it could be possible to make everyone safe.
“The GAA haven’t even stated their plan. Until someone comes back with answers to a whole lot of questions then we just don’t know what will happen.”