GAA Football

Tyrone will be flying fit on return, says Feargal Logan

Tyrone joint-managers Feargal Logan (front) and Brian Dooher.
Francis Mooney

Tyrone joint-manager Feargal Logan expects to welcome a squad of supremely fit footballers to tonight's opening training session at Garvaghey.

It will be a first opportunity for the new bosses to work with the players, nearly five months after his appointment, along with Brian Dooher,. As successors to Mickey Harte.

With just four weeks to get their men up to speed and up to the pace of top level competition, the time-line is tight.

But lockdown programmes have been designed with a purpose by Strength and Conditioning Coach Peter Donnelly, and those seemingly endless weeks of lonely maintenance of the body's power and athleticism will make sense upon contact with the training pitch.

"In our days, you went to training to get fit, but now you come to training fit, and then you can knuckle in to all the rest of the stuff," said Logan.

"We have a diligent set of players in Tyrone, and that applies around the clubs too.

"Hopefully everybody is in good shape and good form to play some football.

"Generally the younger generation nowadays are good at looking after themselves and keeping themselves in shape, and realising that it's a 12 months of the year thing, that they need to be in good shape to come to training."

Logan and Dooher, who steered Tyrone to an All-Ireland U21 Championship title in 2015, will get their first taste of senior management in the National Football League Division One North opener at home to Donegal on May 15, followed by further Ulster derby ties against Armagh and Monaghan.

But it's thoughts of the Championship that get the competitive juices flowing, and the Red Hands will discover tomorrow who their opponents will be in the straight knock-out Ulster series when the draw is made live on RTE.

"When you're in a bit of a vacuum, you don't know who you play, when you play.

"So it will be good to get the Championship draw.

"It coincides with us returning on to the field, and at least there's a focus, there's a set of dates in the master fixture plan, so it's all systems go at this stage."

In the meantime, the physical and mental release of this evening's return to training will preoccupy the minds of all who participate in the strictly regulated session at the county's Garvaghey base.

"We have all been in the grip of a public health emergency, and hopefully it's lessening in nature and will allow us all back out collectively on to football fields.

"It's virtual management over computer screens. It's been a virtual world, because human contact has been brought to a minimum.

"So it is important about a sporting arena to be able to get out together and train and interact and see how everybody is."

Clubs in Ulster are a week ahead, having returned to training in pods of fifteen from last Monday.

The Tyrone managers, their backroom team and players also availed of that opportunity with their respective clubs to help ease back into the routine of a sporting life so sorely missed.

"The clubs are the critical unit, and there's brilliant work being done around all the clubs of Tyrone, from under-age right the way through.

"The county team is the product of the clubs, and it is great that everybody is back out with the clubs, and hopefully everybody will stay safe and get some enjoyment, and in particular the younger generation, who have been cooped up and missing out on education on sport.

"So it's great to see everybody back out around the fields, and long may it continue without interruption."

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GAA Football