The flying visit home to line out for the club is out of the question this year but Portlaoise’s London-based Cahir Healy saw that one coming.
Next week, the former Laois dual star will head home for his summer holidays and commence the required 14-day quarantine period before training for the championship.
All the same, it poses a headache for several clubs who are dependent on their exiles making whistlestop weekend journeys to tog out and fly back to their countries of residence shortly afterwards.
Following a number of queries, Leitrim secretary Declan Bohan this week had to write to clubs recently to confirm that players living abroad are not permitted “to engage in any club activity until after the period of this 14-day isolation has been exhausted."
As a schoolteacher about to break up for the summer, Healy has no such issue until the end of next month at least. “I’m lucky enough in that regard. If I was in basically any other job here during the summer, I’d be caught but I’ll be home and have my two weeks’ done and I’ll be grand so I dodged a bullet that way.
“It could be a thing to consider down the line in September or October when I’m back at work but for the summer I’m all good. I looked ahead and whatever day I booked the flight for I made sure it was in good time to quarantine for two weeks when I get back. I don’t know how anyone else is going to manage it.”
Healy will line out with Portlaoise in the premier intermediate championship at the end of July before switching to football a week later and he intends alternating between the codes’ round stages the whole way through August.
The Laois County Board have arranged their hurling and football finals for the weekend of September 27 and October 4 respectively. As a new member of the Club Players Association’s (CPA) national executive committee, Healy believes they have structured the competitions well and he has also complimented the senior county managers.
“It’s the right thing to do to give all the players a proper set of fixtures over a decent period of time, and I think Mike Quirke and Eddie Brennan have to be commended for respecting clubs and trying to promote strong clubs, which in turn promote strong counties.
“I think they were able to put egos aside. As a Kerry man and a Kilkenny man, it would have been easy for them to try and do something else and dictate and only thing of their own reputations. But I think they have to be admired for looking at the bigger picture that the GAA is and doing the right thing by 100% of their players in my opinion.”
Quirke and Brennan’s coach/selector Niall Corcoran favour the idea of county players being released to the county set-up upon their club teams exiting the county championships. However, CPA chairman Micheál Briody disagrees that it would not be respecting the club window.
Healy is also of the mind that nobody should return to collective county training before the official start date on September 14.“I would come down more with Micheál (Briody) on this one. I see the lads’ sentiment but for this year what you could have then is county boards deliberately bastardising their own championships, possibly under pressure from managers and completely screw a whole section of their clubs to just get the county players back before September 14.
“If the September 14 deadline is there and everybody sticks to it then it is completely fair across the board. The guy who is knocked out two weeks before that, it’s two weeks. That guy has managed to get through three months of lockdown and I imagine able to maintain a level of fitness and he can go and do his own bit of ballwork to be ready for September 14.
“The county championships shouldn’t be seen as a fly in the ointment by the county managers so they can go back training early at the end of August or the start of September. If all 32 counties stick by September 14, then there is fairness.”