FOR Fermanagh forward Darragh McGurn the clarity offered by the GAA ahead of this season was welcome.
The Queen's University, Belfast student enters his third year with Fermanagh when the National League, as things stand, gets under way at the end of February.
And he explained that having dates and a season to work towards has helped during the solitary training that he and his team-mates find themselves doing.
“As a player you just want to play matches,'' said McGurn.
''Last year it was very difficult; a lot tougher, because we were training away at times and not knowing what lay ahead of us and not even knowing if anything was going to get played.
''At least now we know what the plan is and even if games are pushed back a little we know what way things are going to work out and it really helps.”
Technology has played a big part for all county teams as they prepare for a league campaign that is pencilled in for just over six weeks away with McGurn revealing that it allows for some sort of connection with squad members.
“Nothing beats training together as a team but we are all part of online groups and we can see what we are all doing in terms of runs and that helps push you on,'' stated McGurn.
''We are just all mad to get back out on a field though and get training together with a ball, but I suppose the only thing is that even if we were doing collective training right now a lot of it would be running anyway, so we can get that done on our own.”
McGurn’s first year with Fermanagh was 2019 seeing League action and making his Championship debut as a late sub against Monaghan in a qualifier defeat.
He cemented a place on the starting team under Ryan McMenamin last year and will no doubt play a big part in the forthcoming campaign as Fermanagh look to put behind them a disjointed and disappointing 2020 that saw them relegated to Division Three.
With the shake up in the League due to Covid-19 for 2021 all four divisions are being split on a north south basis with Fermanagh in a group with Derry, Cavan and Longford.
Division three south sees Wicklow, Offaly and Limerick join Munster Champions Tipperary.
“I think we have are in the much harder group but that isn’t something that will bother us,'' the big Belnaleck man stated.
''We will be looking to win each game and there is no reason why we cannot win every game. If we do that then we put ourselves in with a chance of promotion.”
Promotion would see McGurn and his team-mates avoid the possibility of playing in the Tailteann Cup, the second tier Championship for Division Three and Four teams should they not reach a provincial final.
Promotion would see Fermanagh classed as a Division Two team for the Championship although the looming spectra of participating in the second tier competition is not something McGurn has thought about.
“The truth is that none of us want to play in the second tier Championship but it isn’t something that we have spoken about or are thinking about to be honest.'' he said.
''And if we do what we need to do then it is not something that we will have to worry about. We have the League to concentrate on first and that is what we will be doing.”