As part of our #ReturnToRugby series, Leinster Rugby TV visited Tullamore RFC recently to see how they have begun preparing for the new season.

As their Women’s team trained, the club’s COVID-19 Safety Officer Graham Kavanagh explained the procedures that they have implemented to ensure the safe return of all players and members.

“The seniors coach would have had to submit his plan as to what training was going to look like,” he explains.

“We’ve had all our sanitation, our signage put up, simple things, bringing your own water, the two metre social distancing.

“That’s the important thing that they need to be doing and slowly but surely we’ll bring the other things back, senior down to the smallest.

For head coach David Hanlon, it’s been a long wait to get his side back out on the pitch but, like Kavanagh, his priority was ensuring that the environment was safe for all.

One way of ensuring that was for him to split his team into two training units working on separate days.

“We’re going to operate backs on a Wednesday and forwards on a Friday and alternate that then for the following week, forwards on a Wednesday and backs on a Friday,” says Hanlon.

“There’ll be no crossover between anybody, we know exactly who’s here, I’ll have a record kept of all the players that are here on any given night so it’s very easy to track

“The only thing that’s been difficult about it is taking the contact element out. Once we get that out of the way and we figure out a plan for mainly skills drills for the next three weeks at least until we hear more.

“I’m delighted that we’re back, we’ve got the exact same squad as last year. They’re all delighted to be back out here so we’re looking forward to next season.”

As a club, Tullamore are no different to others in that they accept it will be a long road back but Kavanagh, in his newly appointed role, is keen to ensure that the club stay proactive and are able to adapt and implement all further measures required.

“Nobody knows what’s ahead for us all and we’re all learning as we go along. Our safety statement is a fluid document, it’s changing, it’s evolving, but we’ll all get back and we have to stay safe.”