By Niall Gartland
TYRONE’S joint-senior manager Brian Dooher is concerned that an intense running schedule of league matches could lead to a surge in injury problems ahead of the championship.
The GAA will soon confirm their master’s fixture calendar for the year, and it seems more likely than not that the national leagues will go ahead – albeit in a condensed, regionalised format where Tyrone will take on fellow Ulster sides Donegal, Armagh and Monaghan.
Collective training will return on April 19, and teams will likely have only a month to get themselves in shape for the league, and Dooher fears that the relative lack of preparation time could lead to players picking up unnecessary knocks ahead of the championship.
“The League is going to start in no time at all, and it’s very hard to bring boys back after not having a match in five months, and having that competitive training.
“That’s one thing I would have concerns about. If you get an injury in those four weeks, you’re probably gone for the League.
“It could go well, and equally it could go badly.
“We could get a couple of bad injuries with boys coming back too quickly, loading up too quick, that’s the big fear I would have.
“Because things are going to run so tight, you’re going to struggle to get them back in any sort of shape for the Championship if they get injured.
“There’s no McKenna Cup, no way to ease into football. You’re just going to hit it at a hundred miles an hour.”
Tyrone’s new management team have formed a preliminary panel for the year ahead after conducting trials prior to Christmas, but plans to whittle down their panel further were waylaid by the latest lockdown.
“We had trials, and we intended to run more trials, but we never got to that stage.
“So we’re a wee bit behind from that point of view, but at least we can start working and moving forward on it.
“We would like to be in a better place coming into this, with a settled panel.”
The Clann na nGael man also welcomed clarity from the Irish Government regards a much-welcomed return to training on April 19.
“At least we have clarity now, the boys have something to work towards, and they know when they’re going to be out on the field.
“That’s the problem we have had, we haven’t known. We have been trying to keep them going on individual programmes, but it’s very hard to keep focus and get any sort of momentum.
“It’s difficult for them, but they seem to be working away. Now we have something to move on and see how we can get it going.”