Michael Fennelly won a lot with Shamrocks
The quaint message on Twitter at the weekend provided a bit of inspiration and hope for us all.
It came complete with visuals and sound from a young lady in Siena, Italy, showing the locals filling the streets with song from the safety of their homes.
It was a sort of self help, coping mechanism during the restrictions on movement in Italy during the coronavirus pandemic.
It was a simple message in many ways, but a powerful one in other ways.
The posting received over 26,000 retweets and 115,000 likes and carried the defiant message: “We are not alone, and we will hold on.”
The posting struck a chord in these difficult and uncertain times.
There will be a real and normal world beyond the restricting one we now inhabit, even for sport, which, to a large degree, fills the role of the great distracter in life.
Wondrous moments and feats in sport, whatever the sport, can uplift, inspire, transport us to a joyous place. Chasing such moments is the drug of sport, and countless millions right across the globe are addicted.
Sport has the capacity to whisk us away to the highest peaks, or to send us crashing to the lowest depths.
Therein lies the lure, the distraction.
And so on this dark day as you plan your time confined by an unseen enemy, be careful, but know that your distracting pastime will light up your days again.
We don’t know when, where or how, but it will happen.
The biggest distraction to real life here in Kilkenny is probably hurling.
It is part of who and what we are. The game, the players, achievements have helped elevate the name of the county.
The majority of people have an acquaintance with the game some way, be that directly through a club, family or by casual interest.
All know the game is played and loved here. And that interest is not going to fade any time soon.
This portion of the sporting year in the GAA is big inter-county time, the time when the National Leagues are played.
Next up, come April, the club hurling scene will swing into action here….we hope.
Nothing is certain, but you must hope, and plan.
There is no 100% guarantee that the National Hurling League, for example, will get beyond the point it has now reached.
Kilkenny and Waterford, plus Wexford and Galway, have been booked for quarter-final matches.
The games were scheduled for last weekend, but they went with the shutdown of sport. Limerick and Clare await the winners in the semi-finals.
In terms of the League, what we have seen could be it for the season.
There may not be any time in the packed schedule to squeeze in the five matches that remain to be played in Division 1, for example.
The Kilkenny County Board has laid out its programme of local matches for the season to clubs, who by this stage have all received the 2020 games schedule.
Clubs simply wait and wonder. The big hurling throw-in for senior, intermediate and junior clubs is scheduled for the weekend of April 4/5, if there is no change.
As things stand, there can be no training as a group, no meetings as a group, no meaningful contacts.
Clubs could end up in the situation that they will commence the serious business of the season without much, if any, training.
Even that would be a good scenario the way things are currently.
Right now everyone would be happy to go with that, one would suggest.
And when the games commence and the season gets to the business end of things, the rules which govern the outcome of matches will be different. There will be restrictions.
As revealed some weeks ago in the 'People, replays will be banned in the early part of championships simply because of pressure of time and the need to meet tighter deadline for the Leinster club and All-Ireland club championships.
The ‘Finish on the Day’ rule will come in effect for the first time in the League and Shield finals, in first round and quarter-final championship games.
Extra time will have to be played in semi-finals and county finals in the event of teams finishing level at the end of normal time.
Kilkenny open in the Round Robin series in the Leinster senior hurling championship against Dublin in Parnell Park on May 10.
By that time, two rounds in the three locals leagues will have been played, we hope.
Kilkenny’s second Leinster championship match will be against Laois on May 16, we hope.
Round 3 of the club games will be played three and four days later in midweek on May 19 (Tuesday) and 20 (Wednesday).
Round 4 then will go back to late August, the 28th and 29th to be exact.
Right now the programme for the club season looks a long, long way off.
The changes to how the local championships will be run deserve a bit of explanation.
Let’s hope we all get there! We look forward to seeing you when the distraction becomes the norm again.
Extra time and finish on the day requirements
All competitions, league and championship in hurling and football are finish on the day bar the senior, intermediate and junior hurling championship semi-finals and county finals, senior football championship final, senior hurling relegation final and intermediate hurling relegation final.
In all these matches two 10 minute periods of extra time will follow in the event of teams finishing level after normal time.
If still level, a replay will be ordered with finish on the day rules applying in the replay.
Finish on the day procedure - if teams finish level at the end of normal time, two periods of 10 minutes of extra time will be played. If still level, two additional five minute periods will be played.
If still level, Finish on the Day rules apply (penalties shall be taken for goals only; each team shall have five different penalty takers; only players on the field at the end of extra time can take a penalty; after both teams have taken five penalties, the one with the most goals scored will be declared the winner; if the teams are still level after the penalties, the sudden death format come into play; 1 penalty at a time follows until one team has scored more than the other.
Match charges - €5 senior/league championship and All County League; intermediate league/championship and All County League.
Basically the €5 charge stands for all games from under-13 upwards.
All double bill senior and intermediate games €10.
For more on Kilkenny People sport read here.