Limerick senior hurlers adapt to new norm of inter-county training in a Covid-19 world

Jerome O'Connell

Reporter:

Jerome O'Connell

Email:

joconnell@limerickleader.ie

Limerick

LIMERICK senior hurling manager John Kiely insists that every Covid-19 precaution and HSE guideline is taken within his camp to "keep our group as safe as possible".

"This is uncharted territory for all of us and we are learning day by day," outlined the Limerick manager.

Limerick are in the final countdown to their October 25 derby tie with Clare and while accepting the uncertainty of the world at present, Kiely stressed that players and management are doing everything possible to keep the coronavirus out of their camp. 

"We have to maintain a certain degree of distancing now and mask wearing is mandatory in the dressing room area vicinity," explained the Limerick manager.

"Our backroom team with our medical staff and logistics group, who look after where we train and that environment, have done huge work in terms of ensuring that everything is in ship-shape and that the players are kept safe, the management are kept safe and the backroom are kept safe. We are hopeful that with the measures we have taken, we can try and keep our group as safe as possible," said Kiely, speaking with the media via Zoom from their training facility in Rathkeale's Mick Neville Park.

"We are lucky in that we have very good facilities here in Rathkeale where we train and where I am speaking to you from now. We have the use of four dressing rooms and the use of a large canteen/kitchen area and we have interval corridors with an air filtration system, which the County Board put in over the course of the last six months. We have a really really good facility with good pitches and plenty parking, which is secure from the public. It’s spotlessly clean and was only renovated over the course of the last few months by the County Board so in really good nick and ideal for our purposes - I would be as happy ever as anyone else," said the Limerick manager.

"At training we are maintaining social distancing within our facilities and they are travelling alone to training so they shouldn’t become classified as close contacts of eachother should one of them contract the virus, which should mean the remainder of the panel would be eligible to play within 24-48 hours," he explained.

"We know that the GAA are rolling out some testing on-demand for groups should the need arise and hopefully that gives confidence to the opposition team and to the team and management that it is safe to participate in a game."

He continued: "An awful lot depends on what the players do away from the group - that’s so important. Work, study and they have to live with family members, etc - there are an awful lot of factors involved but if we can take the measures that we are taking effectively at training when the players do come to us they shouldn’t end up as close contacts of eachother".

Kiely is confident that there won't be any last minute hiccups to derail the inter-county championship from commencing.

"Our preparation haven’t been diminished in any way - the quality of training has not diminished in any way, the quality of competition for places hasn’t diminished in any way; players want to play the 2020 hurling championship very much and I think the association has mirrored that determination over the course of the last couple of months in terms of it’s determination to play the competition," said Kiely.