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Baby steps still go too far

 

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Alan Manning

Alan Manning

Alan Manning

Fingal Ravens selector Alan Manning says he believes that no club activity should resume while there is any danger to the club's membership.

The first tentative steps towards easing the Covid-19 lockdown were taken yesterday (Monday), and for the GAA this means that players are now allowed to train in groups of four, but Manning feels that a partial return to training poses many problems.

'We have 20 teams, so if there are four lads from the senior panel and, let's say, four from the minor set-up at opposite ends of the pitch, you just can't police it,' he said.

'So at this moment in time, if there is four lads training together I personally don't think it's safe.'

The Fingal Ravens senior team, who won promotion from Division 3 last season, have still to kick a ball in anger so far this year, but Manning says morale is good in the camp.

'The lads are doing their own bits individually,' he pointed out. 'We send them a programme every now and again, we talk every now and, look, a lot of our lads look after themselves - they have a WhatsApp group to keep themselves ticking over.

'In fairness, it's not just the football - they are keeping each other going mentally as well.'

While July 20th has been marked down as the date when leagues are due to start up again, Manning is one of many who believe that, in the absence of a vaccine, it could be a risky venture.

'We will be looking at the health and safety of our members and if it's feasible to play football that's great, but if it's not - sure what can we do about it?'

And asked whether there were any changes to the game that might help in the short term, Manning commented: 'There's a couple of things you could do. You could have one hop, one solo, you could bring in games with no touches so you get the ball and kick the ball, but until it's safe for everybody it's pointless doing anything about it.

'A vaccine is what you need. You have players who are going home to elderly parents or partners or kids who have underlining health issues, so it's not very fair to ask lads to play and then potentially bring something home with them.'

Indeed, Manning believes it wouldn't be the worst thing if there was no return to action until the new year.

'We have had a few niggly injuries. Darren Daly was injured at the start of the season - that's why he wasn't playing for Dublin. He had a couple of different ones and my own lad is carrying a bit of a knee injury, so yeah, they are getting plenty of rehab time.

'At the end of the day the county board will back a decision on whether games can go ahead, and even if they do bring it back in it will be up to clubs and individuals whether or not they want to play or not.

'There will definitely won't be any pressure put on our players from our end of things.'

Fingal Independent