ORLA Finn has backed the decision to give senior inter-county championships the go-ahead this winter.
The two-time All-Star forward and her Cork team-mates kick off their All-Ireland senior football championship campaign with a derby against Kerry on November 7th, followed by a clash with Cavan the following week.
While U20 and minor inter-county championships have been postponed during the restrictions introduced in the current Level 5 lockdown, senior inter-county action is allowed continue – and Cork forward Finn feels that’s the right call.
‘Personally, I’m very happy it’s going ahead. I know some people have different opinions but I am, as a player, very happy it’s going ahead,’ the Kinsale woman told the Star Sport Podcast.
‘I think a lot of people will be very happy as well because it’s something to look forward to at the weekends, something to watch. For me, it’s an escape from the whole Covid thing as well, and it’s back to a bit of normality.
‘A lot of people are worried at the same time but when we are playing and out on the field, supposedly it’s a lot harder to pick it up outside.’
Finn also explained that the Cork squad has spoken about their individual responsibilities to limit their contacts in the coming weeks ahead of their championship opener against the Kingdom.
‘The main thing is that all teams are doing things right off the pitch and you have to limit your contacts,’ Finn said.
‘If you want to be playing in the championship you really have to try and limit your contacts as much as you can outside of work. This Level 5 lockdown will force us to do that anyway but you really don’t want to be coming into the championship and having to self-isolate for two weeks because you are a close contact. That could easily happen to any of us but if you limit your contacts, it might help a little anyway.’
She added: ‘I feel safe too. Things are being done the right way and as long as they are I’m happy.’
For Finn, a teacher at St Joseph's Boys National School in Cobh, the chance to play football is a welcome return to normality. Earlier in the year, during the country’s first lockdown, she didn’t think there would be an All-Ireland championship, but now the Rebels are closing in on their opening Group 1 clash against Kerry, on this Saturday in Tralee at 3pm.
‘I’m really excited because I didn’t think there would be a championship this year and that’s made me even hungrier for the championship to go ahead. There is nothing else going on anyway at the moment so being able to play football is fantastic,’ Finn said.
This year’s All-Ireland senior football championship is different to past seasons. There are four groups of three with the winner of each group advancing to the All-Ireland semi-finals. Cork sat out the opening round of games last weekend, as Kerry defeated Cavan in the first Group 1 clash, but now it’s back-to-back matches for the Rebels, starting this weekend against Kerry.
‘With the championship this year, we have to win our two group games to advance and they’ve cut-out the quarter-finals so it’s almost knock-out from the start,’ Finn said.
‘It really is anyone’s championship this year. Mentally we have to be strong to pull us through it. Kerry will be very physical and fit, and it’s a game I’m really looking forward to.’
- Orla Finn was speaking at the launch of a landmark partnership between the GAA and Dublin-based company, The Marketing Hub which sees the latter become the GAA’s first licensed leisurewear supplier. The clothing collection will feature a wide range of items specifically created for GAA fans in 31 counties as well as New York and London. Check out ganzee.ie.