Eamonn Corcoran conflicted by GAA cessation

Eamonn Corcoran conflicted by GAA cessation

Former Tipperary defender Eamonn Corcoran says the pitch closures are taking their toll on club players but the sacrifice being made is understandable.

The 2001 All-Ireland winner, who was chairman of his club JK Brackens in Templemore last year before taking over as senior hurling manager, has mixed feelings about the GAA’s decision to keep their premises off limits until July 20.

While he has seen the psychological impact it has had on his panel, he is also fully aware that the fields are shut for safety purposes. 

“Things are changing by the day. Insurance is obviously playing a huge part. 

"If there are waivers to be signed then I might sign it but my father didn’t sign it and the people I meet through work and work with didn’t sign it and if I’m in contact with them is there a risk there?

“It’s so tricky. It’s hard on the young lads at the moment but how do you control it in the clubs? 

"Who gets access to the pitch? From a mental health point of view, it’s so difficult on players and everyone who loves the game but we have to look at helping people with their livelihoods first. 

"I might be sitting on the fence but I really struggle with it because there are pros and cons on both sides of it.

“We’re very fortunate in JK Brackens as a lot of the lads are out in the country and have back gardens and are not living in apartments. 

"We were sending around the drills on WhatsApp that they were able to do three or four times a week and they were buying into but every time I was put up a bit of positive news something negative followed.

“We’ve been trying to keep the lads focused on their own health and eating well. Are they going to be match-fit any time soon? 

"Absolutely not but the mental well-being is more important right now. 

"I get a few messages from lads that while they’re training hard they’re finding it tough to stay away from the fridge.

“I think it’s the uncertainty about returning to play that affects them and it’s affecting everybody. 

"Everyone is struggling and from a GAA point of view it would be great to get back but I would be very much in the space that the time has to be right and it has to be safe. 

"When that happens I’ll be the first man to the pitch.”

Eamonn Corcoran conflicted by GAA cessation

Corcoran agrees with his former Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy and John Kiely that it’s safer to restart GAA action with counties because of the smaller numbers involved in contrast to the club scene. 

That said, he knows the clamour from club players to get back playing will grow the more the country recovers from the crisis.

“County is more of a controlled environment but so many club players are out there screaming to get back doing something. 

"The Laois football manager Mike Quirke wrote last week that we have to hold off on and wait and I get his point because things are changing so quickly.

“John Kiely and Liam are coming from the right place too because like us all they want to see it back but they want it done safely. 

"And inter-county is controlled but, like, where do the players go the following day (after a game)? 

"For an amateur sport, back in work the day after a game and maybe going back to a different part of the country. 

"It’s not like the Bundesliga where they are remaining in camp.

“In fairness to Liam, I think he referenced it five or six times, it’s safety first and I think some people lost sight of that. 

"He was stressing if it’s safe to come back and I don’t think he was putting county over club only that it was a more controlled environment.”

What tapers Corcoran’s urge to call for pitches to be reopened is the daily death toll. 

You hear people saying ‘oh, the stats are down, it’s below 100, only 10 people have died’ but it’s still 10 people.

"Ten people have actually lost their lives and that’s the big thing. Sometimes we can gloss over the numbers when we see them coming down. 

"Two people dying is still two too many. Once that is happening in society, everything else is secondary.

“Okay, sport is brilliant mentally for us but we have to make sure we minimise the risk as much as we can and do the right things. 

"When we do go back in fours and the pitches open up we have to do our best to ensure that we’re not putting anybody at risk.”

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