TERMON and Donegal player Emer Gallagher says there is frustration about the uncertainty of the season ahead particularly at club level.
The ladies football season will begin with intercounty action, though no set date is in place. Club fixtures are more unclear.
Gallagher said: “There is more uncertainty surrounding the club, about when we will be going back, whether it will be the summer time or not. We don’t know.
“With Donegal we are a bit more blessed because we know that is coming first. The girls have been fantastic and keeping in touch. People have been sending times and that is keeping us all motivated. Having that team unit of support has been important.”
Lockdown has meant that staying in contact has been a challenge for teams. But the Termon group have been working together well.
“I am lucky that I have a great relationship with the girls on the club team. We have a massive mix of ages on the team. I get on equally well with the higher end of the age scale as I do with the younger ones. I have known them all since no age at all. I have even trained some of them when they were u-12.
“We would be very close. Some of them have found it very hard because of the uncertainty. It is definitely that bit more difficult when you have no time line.
“I teach some of the girls as well (Loreto in Letterkenny) so I have been keeping in touch with them that way as well.”
Gallagher reckons that she and her team-mates are more attuned to training in isolation, and so this time around it is not as bad as it was last year.
The Covid-19 restrictions are still in place at the moment, though changes are due to be made in the North. Last year Gallagher experienced the challenge of training on her own as she prepared for club and county campaigns. After Termon lost to Glenfin in the club championship, and Donegal lost to Dublin, the ladies player went into training isolation again in preparation for the new season.
“We were hopeful that the start of this year would be a lot different to the end of last year but that wasn’t to be.
“It has very much been individual training since we finished up last October.
“It didn’t feel as bad this time that we weren’t coming back to collective training. We knew from experience that it was manageable and you could keep up individual training on your own.
“I knew that I would be motivated to do work on our own. No one anticipated that we would still be doing it in March. That has been hard. I have been doing road running. We have found it hard to get access to grass because the Gaelic pitches are closed.”
Gallagher said that regular contact with her team-mates has been so important.
“We have definitely been keeping in touch, and we have met up on line. Maybe aspects that we have not had the time to do before. I wouldn’t have time to dedicate before because we were running about.
“Challenging yourself to do runs has been great. But I miss the group environment. I have learned that I am a team player. I am looking forward to getting out for some team time.
“I have found it hard working on my own. That should resonate with everyone. Especially when you are working on your own, you could feel that your legs or heavy, or you’d just rather not. It could be raining. When you have that self responsibility it is hard and I don’t think that you push yourself as hard as you would when you are in a group environment. But it has been good to put that onus on myself. It has been good to put that pressure on myself.”
Yet she is trying to remain positive and take as much as she can that will help her down the line.
“It is a good learning experience. I am hoping that it will stay with me. I hope that when we come to play games that that experience will stand to me, and I know that I have worked hard through some tough days.
“That will be something that will stay wtith every player. To know that they are so relieved.”
Success for Termon is important. Last year the club lost the county final to an Yvonne Bonner-inspired Glenfin. They hope to bounce back from that as the team has the potential for great success as they have such a strong squad.
It is only seven years since they won their All-Ireland Club title.
“2014 was the best achievement of my life. You look back at that as an experience when things went right. That was a time when things like gym were coming in, nutrition. We had a great back room team. Maybe other teams in the county or country didn’t have.
“There is nothing like winning with a group who are your best friends. That is similar to the situation with Donegal as there are so many of my club mates playing for the county. Maybe six or seven. We experienced great success at club level.”