Shortened season is a challenge – Gallen


DONEGAL star Oisin Gallen believes the shortened season makes it physically challenging to stay at 100 per cent week-on-week.

With the split season now, the Ulster Championship typically starts a month earlier and is usually wrapped up before it would have even started previously.

It puts an extra strain on players with games coming thick and fast as there is much less of a break after the league ends.

And while there were no complaints about having an extra game when David Gough blew the final whistle as Donegal overcame Derry, Jim McGuinness’ charges are out again this Sunday against Tyrone.

“It’s a good place to be and we’re lucky to get the extra day as well but with the shortened season it’s not ideal,” Gallen said.

“A lot of us in the last five minutes were cramping up and those championship games take a lot out of you. To have to go again next weekend is going to be challenging but that’s the joys of the competition these days, we’ll have to refresh the bodies and the minds.

“We have Tyrone and then possibly Armagh or Down two weeks after that so it’s not a straight sailing to the top, we’ll have a few tough games coming up next.

“It’s going to be a quick turnaround but it’s a level playing field in that Tyrone had to go toe-to-toe and we got the extra day on them.

“You’re chasing against time to try and get the bodies ready for next week and get freshened up.

“The week goes in fairly fast and there’s not much you can do on grass during the week. You have lads who are giving their all, you’re maxing out as much as you can out of yourself in that game and it’ll be tough to get the bodies recharged but we’ll do our best, we have a good medical team behind us and we’ll do our best to get that done.

“Promotion was our first aim but at the same time we were able to watch the Division One games and you had Derry in the back of your mind but the joys of it now are that you get so up for one game and you have to go again next weekend.”

The Sean MacCumhaill’s star has had his fair share of injury problems over the year but has had a great run of fixtures over the past 12 months.

And while the early start to the championship isn’t ideal, the sun was out last weekend which added to Gallen’s enjoyment of the occasion, with the Ulster Championship once again throwing up a couple of exciting games.

“It’s been a good bounce of games in-a-row for me since the start of the league and since the championship last year really, it’s just hopefully keeping on top of that.

“It wasn’t looking too good on Wednesday when it was lashing down and you’re thinking ‘what’s going on here, why are we in championship season already?’

“It didn’t feel like championship time but thankfully the weather picked up and the ground hardened with the sun out and that’s what you want, you want a full house in for provincial games and you want the buzz.

“The weather brings that and gets people out and thankfully it came but there was a real championship feel off that game and hopefully the Ulster Championship is here to stay.”

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