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'The goalposts are constantly moving' - Mattie Kenny says Dublin players 'disillusioned' over shifting dates of return to action


Dublin hurling manager Mattie Kenny. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Dublin hurling manager Mattie Kenny. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Dublin hurling manager Mattie Kenny. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Mattie Kenny has admitted his Dublin hurlers have become "disillusioned" in recent weeks as the dates for a possible inter-county return have kept shifting.

And he described Sunday night's announcement from GAA president John Horan, that he can't see any football or hurling for as long as social distancing remains, as "very sobering".

The Sky Blues were due to kickstart their Leinster SHC round-robin campaign at home to Kilkenny last weekend, but the ongoing Covid-19 crisis has placed the entire 2020 championship season in peril, with October flagged as the earliest possible start date.

Speaking on Galway Bay FM on Monday night, Kenny explained how optimism has gradually faded since the introduction of Government restrictions on March 12 precipitated a GAA lockdown.

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"That weekend we talked to all the players, through our WhatsApp groups; we gave them their individual programmes. And in the first couple of weeks they were saying, ‘My God, this is working really well’ - they were doing nearly more individually than when they were doing collective training," he recalled.

"We were really happy the way things were going. At that time the GAA were still saying the Leinster championship is starting in May … then the ‘club month’ went and then the May championship went.

"And to be honest with you, in the last few weeks, we’ve found it really, really difficult. Players now are becoming a little bit disillusioned, lacking motivation, because the goalposts are constantly moving," the Galway native added.

While Horan’s intervention on The Sunday Game was a “very sobering statement”, Kenny stressed that managers and players “know what’s the important thing here and that’s the health and wellbeing of the population, and all our friends and families.”

His Dublin squad have taken a step back from their individual training programmes over the past fortnight, “and we’ll be extending that for the next number of weeks. We won’t be asking the guys to do any scheduled training,” he confirmed.

While he expected that as sports people, they would still go out for their own runs, communication with the panel will be reduced so they can get some "down time".

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However, on a more hopeful note, Kenny referenced the recent reduction in daily numbers for new Covid-19 cases and deaths.

"I'm still personally hopeful, over the next couple of months, that we will get into a good situation where the Government and all the sporting agencies can really look at this again, and that we will get some club hurling later this summer and some inter-county championships come October," he concluded.

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