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'A massive impact'

Burke laments disruption but says football is secondary

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Wicklow football manager Davy Burke chats with some of his players during a recent league game in Aughrim.

Wicklow football manager Davy Burke chats with some of his players during a recent league game in Aughrim.

SPORTSFILE

Wicklow football manager Davy Burke chats with some of his players during a recent league game in Aughrim.

Wicklow senior football manager Davy Burke has said that the 2020 national football league season may be difficult to complete as a result of a ban on sporting activity, designed to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Amid rising fears concerning the spread of Covid-19, which has claimed the lives of over 5,000 people around the world, the GAA, along with the FAI, IRFU, and other governing bodies made the decision on Thursday to cancel all sporting activities at national, provincial, school, and club level until March 29.

While Burke insisted that the move was the right one to make, he admitted that it puts doubt on the completion of the league.

Wicklow were due to play Antrim this past weekend in the first of their final two games; a trip to Wexford awaiting on March 22 to bring their Division 4 season to a close.

Now that both of those games have been postponed until the end of March at earliest, and with the possible deferment of that date depending on the containment of the coronavirus, Burke said that the GAA calendar could suffer knock-on effects.

'Just reading between the lines from what I am hearing coming out of Croke Park and John Horan, etc., they're saying that if we get back up and running after the 29th of March, they will see the season out and play the last few rounds and finals, etc.,' he said.

'If we don't get back up and running on the 29th of March, I'd imagine the league could be gone. In turn, the tier-two championship might be shelved for the year. I think, in the next few days - Monday or Tuesday - a lot will be told.

'I work up in Dublin City centre, and it is a ghost town.

'I think in the next few days, we will know a little bit more about if the 29th of March will happen.

'Obviously, now, it has had a massive impact on preparation for everybody, but at the end of the day, football comes secondary to everything else.'

Due to the blanket ban on county and club panels undertaking group activities relating to football or hurling - including matches, challenges, training sessions, etc. - Burke has given his players individual tasks to maintain fitness, although he said that there is only so much that can be done, given the circumstances.

'We have been asking a few of the lads to get out individually and do a small bit of running, and we have a way of tracking that, as well, so we can still do a small bit individually and that might keep them ticking over a small bit, but when you come back, you have an uphill battle.

'I can't imagine any management of a county team will be going against these rules. It is too serious and there is too much unknown.

'That is my take on it. We don't know how serious this is going to be, we don't know how destructive it is going to be for the country.'

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