MILFORD manager Shaun Paul Barrett says that he hopes that collective club action returns to Donegal sooner rather than later for the benefit of the younger players on the team.
Barrett, who is in his second year in charge of the club, has watched how the extended periods of non-action has affected his team. He says that they have been unable to get together since last summer and he thinks that that is far too long for his players to be training on their own.
“It is frustrating for the young lads to be out to see their mates. They can’t get out. They are just doing individual stuff. They want to get back out and have the craic.
“Here it doesn’t look like it is going to end till May.”
While there are challenges for the players in not getting any action, there are also difficulties for the management.
Last year, Barrett took on the role and he didn’t get a proper start with his team.
“Other clubs would have been away ahead of us, as they had met up before hand and given out plans. We didn’t have that as we hadn’t met up at all. Same as this year, we’ve only had Zoom meetings.”
However, Barrett understands that the situation is unique, and he says that the players and management understand the reasons why they can’t get together on the training field.
“People’s lives are very important. The pandemic has taken over people’s lives. Everybody is waiting to see if the vaccine takes effect. And if that happens then we’ll be able to start up again, but our numbers are still high.”
Barrett says that there will be great benefits for football starting up again.
“Hopefully for a football point of view it starts up again, and it is important from a mental health point of view as well.
“All the pitches are closed so you can’t even kick the ball over the bar which is hugely frustrating.”
Barrett was the manager of the Donegal u-20s team and has experience of coaching many teams.
He says that with Milford there is an expectation for success.
“I have ambition for success with every team I manage. I have big ambitions for our club.
“We have a young side, a talented side. I think they can put in the hard work.
“It has been a few years since I have been involved with them but I was there last year.
“Last year we didn’t have time to get a team to prepare. It took a long time to build their confidence up. I would have huge belief in this group of lads. They are full of ability. We think they can push on.”
With regards to his squad, there will be few changes. That’s unsurprising as players can’t go anywhere.
“Things have gone to another level in terms of preparation. You have to work really hard. You have to have the right attitude and the right preparation. That’s what we are looking to build.”
The Donegal county board have not made any decision on how the leagues and the championships are going to be played.
Barrett said: “To be fair to our own fixtures committee they are waiting to be told.
“Last year the regional league was run well. I thought it would be better if we had had more league games run prior to championship. Once the championship started the league filtered out and most of the games weren’t played.
“If we had more league games then I would give teams more time to prepare.
“Usually a team would have two or three months to prepare for the league. Now we haven’t had any training. Even gyms are clubs so players don’t have that aspect either.”