Pat Ryan wary of pushing returning Cork U20 stars 'too hard, too quickly'

Full contact training for both the 2020 and 2021 inter-county minor and U20 teams is permitted from Monday
Pat Ryan wary of pushing returning Cork U20 stars 'too hard, too quickly'

Cork U20 manager Pat Ryan 

Cork boss Pat Ryan insists his All-Ireland U20 hurling finalists will be sensible and "fight the urge to go full tilt" when they finally return to training next week.

Full contact training for both the 2020 and 2021 inter-county minor and U20 teams is permitted from Monday, May 10.

Ryan’s Cork won the 2020 Munster championship before Christmas so have an outstanding All-Ireland final against either Dublin or Galway, who still have to meet in the Leinster decider.

The 2020 U20 football championship was completed but a number of games in both the minor football and hurling championships are also outstanding.

The GAA will shortly confirm fixture details for the remaining 2020 games with indications that the minor matches will take place after the Leaving Certificate exams in July.

A number of the U20 hurlers are Leaving Cert students also and an early July date for the two outstanding games in that grade seems likely, potentially leaving teams with around two months to prepare.

“Fellas are mad to get back on the field but it’s really important that we don’t push them too hard, too quickly,” said Cork U-20 boss Ryan.

“There is a big difference between players training on their own and maybe even running around bollards to going into contact training and being asked to do different things. It’s vital you have a plan that recognises that and thankfully we have very good people like Adam McCarthy and Aidan O’Connell involved with Cork who are guiding us in that area.

"There’s a lot of learnings to take from last year as well in terms of soft tissue injuries and issues that would have cropped up when players went back at it. You’re trying to fight the urge to go full tilt at it, to go 100% at it straight away. You have to manage that very carefully and that’s what we’ll be doing.”

Former senior coach Ryan said he is in the dark about when the All-Ireland U-20 final will go ahead, against either Dublin or Galway.

“We’d all like 12 weeks of a run in with 10 challenge matches but I’m not going to second guess what the schedule will be,” said Ryan. “The start of July is a possibility but I don’t know what they’re going to do. We’ll get on with it whatever it is.

“The feeling at the moment is just delight to be back going again. The most important thing is that we have a date to be able to get back training. We were redundant there for five months and now it’s going to be helter-skelter again. We’ll have our plan for the year in terms of the 2020 and 2021 schedules very shortly so we’ll just take it from there.”

It’s anticipated that the 2020 minor hurling championship will resume in mid-July, around a fortnight after the Leaving Cert has finished. The minor managers of Offaly, Kilkenny, Limerick and Galway have all been in contact with each other with around a third of each panel preparing for the State exams. Under government guidelines, games aren’t permitted until at least June 7.

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