Donegal boss Declan Bonner wants a provisional date set for a return to action

It is a bit premature to be writing off the championship just yet

Declan Bonner

Donegal manager Declan Bonner

Donegal team manager Declan Bonner has called on the GAA top brass to try and set a “provisional date” for a return to action.

And the Tir Conaill team boss said it was a tad premature of those who were of the opinion that the championship was already gone for this year.

Bonner added that even if a provisional date was set it would allow county teams to plan a schedule after almost a month of uncertainty.

Down star Darren O’Hagan said the championship “could be scrapped”.

“How are you supposed to go back into a changing room full of fellas and how are supporters supposed to go and watch a match?”he said.

But Bonner disagrees saying he believes “there will be a championship, possibly in July”.

“It is a question of what form it will take, I don’t know.

“But it will probably be on a reduced scale like a knock-out later on.

“I can’t see any football being played in the month of May or June, but there is a possibility that the championship will take place in July or August”.

He added: “I understand people’s concerns, but I think it is a bit premature to be writing off the championship just yet and we are still only in early April.

“If the GAA could set a provisional date so that we could start planning accordingly.

“Our backroom teams can then start to taper training to a particular date and even if that does not happen at least players will have had a positive target to work towards.”

But teams would need a run- in period of around four weeks before getting back into action.
“It would be great if we could go again in July and then we could be planning.

“But we have to make sure that the lads will be ready to get back into contact and it is not a case that you would go back in July and straight into action.

“A time frame would be great but there are more pressing things out there at the minute with our front -line staff,” he said.
Bonner, whose daughter Amara is a doctor in Letterkenny University Hospital, said the family keep in touch with her via telephone and social media.

“Yes, Amara is in the front line and we are very proud of her, but modern technology is great.
“It is hard to believe that the whole world has come to a standstill over this virus and it gives us a whole new perspective on things.

“We now have plenty of time to think but we also need fresh air for our mental health.”
Meanwhile, Bonner’s Donegal squad have “all been working away on their own and that is all they can do and within the guidelines, their gym work and whatever running they have to do.

“It is not easy, but it is the same for everyone out there, but the uncertainty around the timing and when the championship comes back, if it does, is very difficult.

“I am in touch with the players pretty often by various methods and it is trying to keep the lines of communication open at all times and just to keep these lads ready.

“And apart from the physical thing, there is also a mental strain on everyone as they are out of routine and we need to look after their mental health as well.

“Most of the lads would have their own equipment and it would be great to see the end of it.”

Na Rossa

Elsewhere Declan is also chairman of his local Na Rossa club and the shutdown has delayed the opening of their new field.

“For the first time in a long time we put in a good pre-season and we had beaten Gaoth Dobhair in the Gaeltacht Junior Championship, and now everything is stalled.

“This came at the worst possible time.

“The new pitch was to be opened this month and that is now cancelled”.

Article by Gerry McLaughlin.

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