Aodh Ruadh boss hopeful of competition starting soon

WITH no news just yet of how Donegal are going to play their leagues, clubs are still waiting to hear how their season is going to look.

For Aodh Ruadh, the Intermediate champions who will be playing Senior Championship football, they are looking forward to whatever happens.

Manager Barry Ward praised the county board for their approach to the development of this year’s fixture list, as they asked each club for their input.

They explained all the different scenarios, and clubs had to fill out a questionnaire. The main point that came out of it was that competitive football is wanted, and as much as possible.

We did a regional league last year, but we were very tight for time. Some teams finished out their games, others didn’t. I think clubs want a competitive league in some shape or format, and then obviously a championship. The county board are just waiting for a date for a return to training, so they can work out how many weekends they have.”

Aodh Ruadh were certainly happy with their season last year. They won the Intermediate Championship and confirmed their return to senior football.

Ward said: “We had a good season last year. We have been intermediate for too long. We had went close a few times. It was great to get over that hurdle last year and it will give the players a great boost in confidence going into the season ahead.

You are improving all the time. This is my third year with the lads, and we have improved our strength and conditioning year-on-year, and our fitness levels.

Until we get back collectively we won’t get to work on too much.”

Squad wise, Aodh Ruadh should be very similar to last year with only one departure as one player is going to the Lebanon for work.

It is a common situation for Aodh Ruadh. Back in 2019 they had three players living away from home due to work.

Jason Granaghan is back from injury. He hurt his knee and was out for the 2020 campaign.

Numbers wise it is very good. We are very happy with the quality and depth of the squad.

We had all our panel training last year, no one away, it looks like it will be the same this year so that is positive. It is great for what we do, it creates a good buzz in around the team.”

Lockdown has been a challenge. Ward said that his players are taking a rational approach to the situation.

They are frustratingly accepting the situation. It is out of their hands and every club is the same. You are just going with the flow. We are hoping there will be an announcement.

Everyone was disappointed at the start of April that adult football wasn’t included. There was only a slim chance, but we did hope we can get something.”

At the moment they are just hoping to get back in whatever form possible, whether that be in pods of 15 or whatever.

Ward said: “They are missing the whole social aspect of things. I am sure everyone can’t wait.

They can do their strength and conditioning but you can’t beat contact training.

We were lucky in that we played the last game in Donegal. But after six months away when you get back to contact training, there are going to be niggles and knocks and bangs. They are going to need a lot of time to adjust. We will be looking at a slow, gradual return to action.

We won’t be running out to get challenge games straight away. While it is tempting, I think we have to take a step back. There is no point playing three challenge matches and having guys injured.”

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