Today marks the start of the proper countdown to when inter-county teams can return to collective training on April 19.
In just over a fortnight, the anxiety levels of players and management could power a small county alone as they struggle with what will be a lead-in of just four weeks before the National Leagues for 2021 are hosted.
By the end of next week, the structure of competitions will be unveiled but it is unlikely to deviate from what had been prosed at the start of the year, with National League competitions split on a geographical basis for football and a straight knockout Championship in store.
In such uncertain territory, never before has the work of conditioning coaches in counties seemed so important. Strength and conditioning, athletic development, injury prevention, whatever you want to call it, it amounts to getting players fit to play and durable enough to withstand the demands of the modern game.
Brendan Murphy has left behind the individual pursuit of track cycling, where he worked for the Canada and Japan Olympic teams as a performance consultant, to work with Antrim teams over the last two years. His work with the hurlers in particular last year when they won the Joe McDonagh Cup was noted.
He has his hands full these days. While the hurlers are going into Division One, the shape of top-flight hurlers has changed beyond recognition with the success of All-Ireland champions Limerick the ultimate case in point.
He is also linked into the county football team and admits there is a shot in the dark aspect to the resumption of action.
"It's very much a guessing game, what others have done, where they are over the last number of months and what lead-in time you have in terms of preparation and clarity," he stated.
"I know the GPA lobbied for a six-week lead-in to games. That's looking like it might end up four weeks which doesn't give you a lot of time if you want to hone in and make sure the players are prepared, never mind the skills aspects of it.
"So trying to get to grips with that is certainly difficult and then obviously different counties will be at different stages in terms of how they are keeping the pressure on players. Trying to stay in contact with players can be challenging too."
Last year, former Irish Olympic team physio Marty Loughran sounded a warning about a sudden return to play and the danger of soft tissue injuries in The Belfast Telegraph. When we checked in with him a month after the restart, that was exactly how it transpired.
Murphy believes that the experience of the first lockdown and the subsequent return to play will have informed preparations this time around.
"It's something that we have to expect. With players, in previous seasons when they have been away with their club and what they are doing, you always hope that they are going to be robust enough," he said.
"I cannot imagine that there are too many inter-county players throughout the country that have been idle throughout this period, or at least not been engaging with county coaches and strength and conditioning personnel.
"In terms of my perspective on it, I am trying to speak to the players and understand what time on their feet they have had during the week because that is key for me. In terms of covering x amount of distance when they return to training, that is not a shock to the system.
"They need some kilometres in the legs, whether that is going for a bit of a kickabout, a bit of a run, so when they do return to play, the tools we have in the county as well as in many other counties at their disposal such as GPS and player monitoring, they are things we are on top of.
"In terms of ensuring that whatever workload is being put into the players, it is not too much too soon.
"You have to adjust that as you approach any potential fixtures, see what shape we are in, how we can negotiate our way through it as a squad. We could have games back-to-back, which it may well be.
"So we are very much monitoring the exercise and looking for the warning signs there before anything blows up. It certainly makes it more challenging because there is only so much training you can do within the window of opportunity. And even in a normal year you would be trying to manage this, but it is certainly under a microscope now."
For Fermanagh's long-serving physical coach Leon Carters, his team had been looking forward to a long and fruitful pre-season after last year's campaign when training numbers were decimated by an outbreak of coronavirus among the panel.
Instead, they have got this, and have had to get on with it.
"The way I have approached it is more than likely like everybody else," laughed Carters.
"I have got to make sure that the foundations and the floor is in and it is at a good level so when they come back to me, we can get to the ceiling of their fitness quicker.
"For the last few weeks the boys have had their own programmes that they have to adhere to and it has been monitored, obviously. That makes sure they are getting the right dosage of high-speed running, sprint distance, change of direction, decelerations, accelerations.
"We have a young squad. A lot of them are students, so some of them are getting to train during the day.
"Then you have the older group in their middle to late 20s who are working. They are maybe going to a track. The by-product of that is lower-limb, calf tendons, they can flare up because these are game-field athletes, they are not 10k specialists so you have got to take that all into account as well."
Carters reports that the appetite of some players had been dipping prior to Tuesday's announcement by the Irish government.
"It has got to be player-driven. There are lads there you don't have to ask twice, it is just done. Others, you have to give them a bit more grace at times. There are fellas with families there and stressful jobs, some of them work in the NHS," he said.
"So for me, I have got to give a wee bit to get a wee bit back and that's what I have done.
"Obviously we hadn't a date to work towards before now, but once we start getting onto the freshly-cut grass and things start moving a bit more, you have got to place a few more demands to make sure they are properly prepared for it.
"There were a couple of lads who were asking when the corner was going to turn. They were not seeing light at the end of the tunnel, feeling slightly demotivated at the start of the week. That's natural, it's human nature."