Damien Hayes looks at the current circumstances and see a positive. The hold on normal life which the Covid-19 lockdown has forced upon us means that club football and hurling get prime time billing this summer.
"It is absolutely brilliant that we are coming back to play a few games and get back to a bit of competitive action," said the former Galway hurler, speaking courtesy of AIB.
"I think it was very important from the mental side of things for players. I’m really excited this year, more than any year, the club players are getting priority.
"They are going to be the ones playing during the summer months, when the ground is hard and the fields are in the best condition, all over the country.
"For the inter-country manager, now he has an opportunity to pick club players on form. There would have been some players who mightn’t have been going well. I often struggled myself in training with Galway in January and February when the fields are bit wet and heavy.
"Now this time of year, you are going to see the fast, skilful, elite player coming in to his own."
The Portumna man is currently working with Tipperary side Borrisokane. He feels that the harder summer ground could benefit some teams.
"I think the club championship will be a way better championship and there’s a few early signs that some teams might have a better chance of winning a county championship this time of year.
"The other thing is, some players will have come back from being abroad due to the coronavirus and now the clubs will have a full panel to pick from.
"For example, I’m training Borrisokane and we have 30 lads down at training every night. Especially in the summer months, when you get on a bit of a run, and with the club championships being run off a lot quicker, I definitely think there is an opportunity there.
“With the Portumna lads, there is a huge buzz because they have all their county players back. They are going down club training, and they have all their county players, and it’s the same in Borrisokane.
"The county players are all coming down and there’s a huge buzz there with the 30 players down there. And the main thing is, you have a bit of craic and a bit of fun to bring the element of happiness to the squad as well.
“It’s gas, we had a challenge match there Sunday morning with Borrisokane and there was a huge buzz about it. People are mad for the GAA to get back up and running again!
"There is a whole social thing to it as well – even if your team isn’t the best team in the world. There’s a huge buzz, be it football, hurling or camogie, and anyone who is going down to training, wants to go training and there’s a new enthusiasm too it.”
Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile