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Seaghan Ferry: Sporting calendar sorely missed

THE All-County Football Leagues were due to begin in Donegal the last weekend, but they were postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and nobody can be sure when the action will get underway again.

Gaoth Dobhair’s Seaghan Ferry has written a blog on how he is maintaining fitness with games and collective training prohibited for the foreseeable future:

‘Unprecedented’ has been the phrase on the lips of many since the sheer scale and scope of the Covid-19 pandemic became apparent when Leo Varadkar took to the airwaves initially on March 12 announcing the closure of schools, universities, as well as other public facilities.

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Sporting organisations followed suit by postponing fixtures, including the GAA who announced that games, training and team gatherings across all codes were to be suspended until March 29, and the resumption date continues to be pushed further and further back.

The sporting calendar has been decimated as a result, and its presence is sorely missed.

Whether that be Man City and Liverpool locking horns in the final few games of the Premier League season, or indeed more importantly Cloughaneely and Gaoth Dobhair knocking lumps out of each other in the curtain raiser of the 2020 All-County League, all things sport-related have been kicked into touch on account of the deadly virus sweeping the globe.

The constantly changing developments in recent weeks have shown us that sport is somewhat insignificant in the grand scheme of things, as families all across the world and indeed in this country have been mourning the passing of loved ones each day at the hands of the Coronavirus.

However, that being said, there is something incredibly special about the strength and unity within the sporting community in such trying times.

Locally, we have seen the brilliant efforts of the St Eunan’s club, who are working tirelessly to make their grounds available to the HSE as a Covid-19 testing centre in Letterkenny – an act which will save lives.

We’ve also seen many clubs across the county including my own club offer their services, with members running home delivery services to those in need of supplies.

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While we must realise that sporting fixtures are meaningless in the current climate, we also must acknowledge the impact of the sporting community, particularly the GAA, which has once again shown us the benefits of coming together.

With training sessions as well as league games postponed for the foreseeable future, what now for club players? We’ve been left to our own devices since the beginning of March, trying to follow the social distancing guidelines set out by the HSE to the best of our abilities.

We tried to get together in small groups of two or three, so in early March myself and Gavin McBride would meet up once a week in Dublin and do a bit of running – emphasis on the ‘bit’.

Trying to maintain the adequate social distance wasn’t really an issue with big Gavin, he’d blame his long 12 hour shifts on site for him lagging behind, so thankfully we were safe enough in that regard.

At the weekends when at home, we would get a few footballs and head for the wide-open spaces of Magheragallon to try and keep the basic skills somewhat reasonable.

Gyms nationwide closed following Leo’s speech on the 12th, so that has further hampered football players maintaining gains made over the winter months in the gym.

Thankfully, our player turned S&C coach Kieran Gillespie has been brilliant in linking up with us and making sure we’re ticking over physically. Kieran’s Instagram page (_kgfitness_) is going from strength to strength of late and is certainly well worth checking out.

Many of Kieran’s workouts are a combination of bodyweight exercises which are perfect in the given climate, as not all of us are fortunate enough to be equipped with an abundance of gym equipment at home.

For the time being we have a responsibility to make sure we are doing everything we can to help stop the spread of the virus.

By staying at home, following the necessary guidelines outlined by the HSE and following Kieran’s daily workouts, we can keep the body in shape while most importantly keeping ourselves, our family and our friends safe.

Seaghan Ferry (Gaoth Dobhair).

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