Longford swimmer Darragh Greene: ‘I'm still on the same plan’ as he prepares for 2021 Tokyo Olympics

Light at end of the tunnel as sports return mapped out

Alan Walsh

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Alan Walsh

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alan.walsh@longfordleader.ie

darragh greene

Longford swimming star Darragh Greene

Longford swimmer Darragh Greene was among the country’s high performance and professional athletes that resumed training activity on Monday.

Darragh spoke of the nervous excitement at the National Aquatic Centre during an interview with RTE’s Jacqui Hurley.

He remarked, “Day one will be pretty much about getting back in there (into the pool) to see if I can still swim again, especially after being that long out of water. The aim will be to get the feel back for the water and ramp up training.”

In 2019, Darragh was Ireland’s first swimmer to go inside the Tokyo Olympic Qualification time at the FINA World Championships in the 100m Breaststroke in Gwangju, South Korea.

He’ll have to wait until 2021 to realise his Olympic dream and admitted, “I’m still on the same plan.”

The high performance facilities permitted to open are; Sport Ireland Campus at Blanchardstown; Morton Stadium, Santry; Irish Sailing High Performance HQ, Dun Laoghaire; National Rowing Centre, Ovens, Co Cork; Golf Union of Ireland Academy, Carton House; training venues for Dundalk FC, Derry City FC, Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers; training venues for Connacht, Leinster and Munster rugby.

Locally, action has returned at Longford Golf Club and Longford Tennis Club, with golf club reporting a surge in membership since they reopened following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

Sport Ireland Chief Executive, John Treacy, said, “The reopening of the Sport Ireland Campus to accommodate high performance athletes is an important development. The facilities on the Campus will allow athletes to train in dedicated high performance environments and gain access to the Sport Ireland Institute.”

Assessed by the Return to Sport Expert Group, action has resumed, with protocols in place, in 16 sporting disciplines - angling, athletics (outdoor training), bowls, canoeing, cricket, cycling, equestrian, golf, hillwalking, hockey, open water swimming, rowing, sailing, surfing, tennis (outdoor) and triathlon.

The GAA, An Cumann Camogaíochta and the LGFA published a plan for a safe return to Gaelic games for the three organisations on Friday last with dates set out for juvenile, adult club and inter-county games.

Walking tracks re-opened on Monday provided the club had received clearance from the GAA. However, the pitch is off bounds until June 29.

Club action is set to get back underway from July 31, with pitches officially being allowed to open on June 29 for training clusters of no more than 10 players, ahead of a full return to organised gatherings from July 20.

Juvenile and Youth competitions will take place from July 31 to Mid-October. This would include club games for underage sides.

Adult competitions (involving county players) will also take place from July 31, but have a finite finishing date of Sunday, October 11.

Inter-county competitions, Leinster Championship and All- Ireland series, or even the resumption of the 2020 leagues, are scheduled to commence on October 17 at the earliest, with county training permitted from September 14, by which stage the GAA expect all domestic championships to have been played to a conclusion.

The GAA will publish this plan when they enter phase three at the end of June.