As the lockdown restrictions loosen, the GAA's challenge match season kicks into gear. 

On Monday evening, Lee Chin's side Faythe Harriers travelled to Offaly to take on Coolderry, 30-time Offaly champions and 2011 Leinster winners. 

The mood beforehand was one of eagerness mingled with gratitude, with players admitting that in mid-spring, they hadn't envisaged getting back to playing so soon. 

"It's great to be back. We've been looking forward to it. We didn't know a couple of months ago whether we were going to get to this stage this year," Chin told RTÉ GAA correspondent Marty Morrisey. 

"The GAA sent out a survey last week that we all had to fill in. We  had to make sure we did the online course to return back to playing. I thought it was very educational, you learn a bit more as you go through on how to abide by the health and safety (protocols).It's about staying safe as we return to the games.

"I don't think there are too many guys who have refused to return. It's probably just out of eagerness that lads are here. Lads just want to be here to get back to competitive action and games." 

Coolderry stalwart and former Offaly hurler Brian Carroll admitted that there was a touch of nervousness in the air given the length of time that had elapsed since anyone had swung a hurl in a game situation. 

"It's fantastic to be back here. We didn't think it was going to happen in the short term. And it's absolutely brilliant to be back here getting an opportunity to play.

"I am (nervous). It's been a while since we played and we haven't had any contact hurling. But at the same time, I'm looking forward to it. 

"We've been lucky in the locality that there hasn't been much Covid-19. But we've adhering to all the procedures and protocols that are expected of us."