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Marissa Callaghan: 'The best part about this is getting to spend lots of time with new baby Quinn'

 

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Marissa Callaghan

Marissa Callaghan

�William Cherry / Presseye

Marissa Callaghan

Marissa Callaghan

Marissa Callaghan with four-month old baby Quinn.

Marissa Callaghan with four-month old baby Quinn.

Marissa Callaghan

We are asking our sporting personalities how they are dealing with action coming to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic and how it has affected their daily lives.

Today, we speak to Northern Ireland women's football team captain Marissa Callaghan.

Q: How are you keeping?

A: I'm doing well. When this all came about a week ago, we had just come back from Spain with the national squad off such a positive camp. When this kicked off and we had to work from home, it did hit hard but I'm looking at the positives - getting to spend time with my family and getting to exercise whenever I can. Things have really settled down now.

Q: How have you been affected?​

​A: In terms of football and playing, we'd been working really hard with our manager Kenny Shiels and the coaches to put together a programme so that, come our Euro qualifier against Belarus in April, we would hit our peak. Now it has been postponed until November. On a normal life and daily basis, it was really busy for us since most of us work full-time and then training most evenings and weekends, and for that to just stop all of a sudden was tough. Personally, I'm just trying to get a routine going. I'm working from home as girls participation officer with the Irish FA and we're still pushing ahead with our plans to engage with young players - we've just launched a 12-week social media campaign with Electric Ireland trying to get girls to video themselves trying challenges and upload them with #GameChangersNI. Then it's about trying to get in some exercise in the afternoon and some family time in the evening. The best part about it all is my partner, Paula, gave birth to a baby boy, Quinn, four months ago, so I'm getting to spend a lot more time with him, which is amazing because my busy schedule meant I wasn't really getting to spend much time with him. I think we've got it nailed in terms of our weekly structure.

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Marissa Callaghan with son Quinn

Marissa Callaghan with son Quinn

Marissa Callaghan with son Quinn

 

​Q: How are you keeping fit?​

A: Our strength and conditioning coach sends us home workouts to do every day, like weights work with my dumbbells and kettle bells at home. Then we try to fit in three 5k runs. I live close to Mallusk playing fields, so I go there. It's a busy schedule but it's something we need to keep doing. It's tough doing it on your own when you're used to being part of a team sport and you're driving each other on, especially during high intensity work. This is the time we have to get out of our comfort zone and see how good we are at self-motivation. We have to do it for the team and look forward to getting back when we can.

Q: How are you keeping morale up? ​

A: WhatsApp mainly, the good Northern Irish humour and all the social media GIFs we're sharing with each other are keeping us going. It's a really tough time, and it will spread more close to home, but we can only keep each other's spirits up.

Q: Where are you drawing your personal strength from now​?

A: I'm loving getting to spend time with my family. The toughest part is not being able to see my mum, dad, sisters, brother and nephews. My oldest nephew just had a wee baby girl and I've only been able to see her twice, but I know staying in is keeping them safe and keeping as many people as we can safe. I'm getting plenty of exercise to help my mental health and that's keeping me focused on our qualifiers. At the end of the day, this isn't going to last forever, it will have an ending, it's just about keeping a good routine, a healthy diet and plenty of exercise to keep me sane.

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Marissa Callaghan

Marissa Callaghan

Marissa Callaghan

 

Q: Sports fans are staying at home too - recommend a book/film and box set please.​

A: You can't beat the Friends box set, there's over 200 episodes to keep you going. We've also just finished watching The Outsider, it's pretty intense but it's got a good storyline. It's based on a Stephen King novel if anybody's interested in that kind of thing. Our Girl is a really good series as well.

Q: What life lessons are you learning from this?​

A: I'm learning that I have good self-motivation. I never, ever thought I'd be able to motivate myself away from the team atmosphere, so that's been something great that I've learned about myself. I also really like routine, so even though I'm not having to leave the house to go to work, I'm still getting up at the time I would on a normal Monday to Friday and getting ready as if I was. Then I'll structure the rest of my day the same - lunch will be at the same time, I'll train at the same time. That keeps me going.

Q: When this is all over, what's the first thing you'll do?​

A: Go and see my mum and give her a massive hug, that's definitely number one. Then I will go and get a Nando's! That's one thing I'll definitely miss!

Q: What's your message to sports fans?

A: I know it's really tough not having live football to watch, but hang tight. We're in this together, it's not going to last forever and we'll be back in action before no time.

Belfast Telegraph