So this is all more than a bit weird.
It’s not the prospect of a match taking place tomorrow that I can’t be at. Lord knows, I’ve missed plenty of Mayo games in recent years, among them a few big ones. So tuning in on TV won’t exactly be a novel experience.
What’s strange, of course, is that inter-county action is resuming at all at this time. When the GAA published its revised inter-county schedule some months back, the initial wave of the virus had subsided and so it was credible to think ahead to an inter-county season late in the year in a post-Covid environment.
But we’re not in any sense over the virus yet, nor, by the looks of it, will we be any time soon. Instead of having an inter-county season to raise morale with the worst of the crisis behind us, we’re now throwing the ball in on inter-county games precisely at the point when the transmission of Covid is more rampant than it’s ever been, where restrictions are being imposed anew and where further more stringent measures appear to be imminent.
That’s quite the backdrop. Like many others, I’m looking forward to being able to see some live action again – there’s only so much of that golden oldie stuff anyone can take – but, at the same time, it’s impossible not to feel uncomfortable that matches are going ahead in the current environment.
On balance, I’d prefer if they weren’t. Especially these two rounds of League matches (and not just as an excuse, from our perspective, to avoid relegation) where teams are criss-crossing the country and where Covid is undoubtedly on the move with some of them.
On the face of it, the Championship appears less of a risk. The matches will initially all be local affairs and teams will be getting knocked out every week so the dangers of transmission are probably lower. But, still, if the whole country is by then chafing under Level 5 restrictions can we really expect the Championship to continue?
For now it’s game on. And, if I’m honest, I’m looking forward to seeing the lads in action tomorrow, not least in light of the fact that it’s been so long since they last played a competitive game.
The break from last year’s All-Ireland semi-final to the first round of this year’s National League was a shade over five months whereas it’s now over seven months since we played our most recent League game. In so many ways, it feels like a lifetime.
So it’ll be good to see the team perform again and to roar like a loon at the TV. Nothing strange there as far as our house goes but everything else is odd and so totally different, no matter how we try to shut that reality out.
Back in the morning with a few pre-match game day thoughts.