Mick Cooke outlines difficulty of quick League of Ireland turnarounds

There are games this Friday and some more on Monday

Mick Cooke outlines difficulty of quick League of Ireland turnarounds

Manager Mick Cooke ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

This weekend the third round of action in the SSE Airtricity League kicks off.

But after that, the Premier Division sides are back in action again as soon as Monday. The hectic schedule doesn't stop there with more fixtures next Friday and Saturday.

Derry City and Limerick must also replay their abandoned game from last Friday (due to a floodlight failure) on the following Tuesday.

It's a very quick turnaround and obviously brings its own difficulties as ex-Drogheda United and Monaghan United manager Mick Cooke discussed with Newstalk.com this week.

"Well, obviously playing Friday, the players had to behave themselves over the weekend and normally with a game on Monday, you're hoping you wouldn't have so many injuries and your main players stay fit," he said.

"But most of the time, Friday to Monday, if possible and everyone was fit after a good result, I would stick with the same XI but obviously if the result didn't go your way on Friday, you'd obviously make changes on the Monday."

Given that some players were not full time, there was also the balance between football and other career pursuits.

"If we were playing Friday to Monday, most lads would have the weekend off so they could recover properly. You'd be unfortunate if you had to travel to Cork or Ballybofey and then have your home game on Monday. But if you're in and around the Dublin area, it certainly wouldn't be too demanding from a travel point of view," he said, adding that it "certainly is difficult for part-time players considering the effort that they put in nowadays".

That of course, wouldn't apply to Drogheda and Monaghan for example.

"It was difficult of course for the likes of Monaghan at the time, if you had a home game in Monaghan and then an away game down in Cork," he said.

"At the time, most of the players were Dublin-based, so they were travelling from Monaghan to Dublin of a Friday evening and then if you had a Monday game, you're travelling to Cork. So from that point of view, it was hard on the Monaghan players that way. Probably Dundalk are the same now. They've got a lot of Dublin-based players."