Brady: 'There's a new benchmark now'
Cavan defender Killian Brady believes that Cavan will have to raise their game to a new level whenever football finally gets the green light to return in 2021.
The Mullahoran defender says that lockdown has been difficult in that teams do not have any certainty about when they will return to action. Cavan had been primed for a January return, with some players not taking any break over the winter.
“The longer the lockdown goes on, I think, the harder it gets. The lads came back so early and chomping at the bit, mad to get back, we had the initial goal of January, for the start of the season, and I know a lot of the lads didn't take much time off at all,” Brady told the Anglo-Celt this week.
“The hunger, after the Dublin game, was there, straight away. Looking back, it would have been nice to have some clarity from the government, or the GAA, that things might have been extended, in that lads might have been afforded to take an extended break but it is what it is now.
“We’re always looking to be a little bit stronger, or faster, so we have to, initially, keep on top of the physical side of it - maybe there's a couple of kilos here and there if you're not keeping on top of it. But I know from my experience that a lot of the lads are keeping on top of it. You have to set your goals but, again, there's no clarity on that.”
There is some optimism that inter-county teams will be allowed to return to training in the near future, with Taoiseach Micheál Martin to address the nation this evening (Tuesday).
“There is a discussion on whether there's going to be three league games and then you're into a championship but there's not much of an opportunity to see where you're at, in terms of game time. It's about making the most of the time and coming back in the best-possible shape.
“It's not just about physical shape, it might be about playing as much football as you can on your own, or just getting as much ball in your hand, so that when you do come back you're not as focused on physical fitness. You have to keep ahead of the curve because there is a new standard ahead.
“Last year was the benchmark but there's a new benchmark now because you're defending Ulster champions. You're not contenders anymore. If you have the opportunity to push on, why not?”
For a full, wide-ranging interview with Killian Brady, see tomorrow’s print edition.