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Larne boss Tiernan Lynch fighting hard to shield daughter Nila from coronavirus

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All in: Larne manager Tiernan Lynch with his children Nila (top right), Fiadh, Maiti and Caolan

All in: Larne manager Tiernan Lynch with his children Nila (top right), Fiadh, Maiti and Caolan

Checking in: Tiernan Lynch is keeping an eye on his players

Checking in: Tiernan Lynch is keeping an eye on his players

©INPHO/Evan Logan

All in: Larne manager Tiernan Lynch with his children Nila (top right), Fiadh, Maiti and Caolan

Larne manager Tiernan Lynch says he's doing all he can to protect his family, including his six-year-old daughter Nila, from coronavirus.

Nila, who turns seven in May, has an underlying health condition and must be shielded from Covid-19.

Tiernan, his wife Andrea and kids Fiadh (13), Caolan (12), Maiti (9) and Nila are in self-isolation at their Glengormley home.

All football in Northern Ireland has been suspended while the fight goes on to save lives and stop the spread of the virus. It's a global pandemic which has led to fear among families, particularly those who have been battling health issues for many years.

Nila is living with chronic lung disease and her family are doing everything within their power to keep the deadly virus away from their door.

People have said the virus doesn't affect children as much as others but you cannot take any risks with your family

"Our youngest daughter Nila has an underlying condition so we need to be very careful with her," said Lynch.

"People have said the virus doesn't affect children as much as others but you cannot take any risks with your family."

Lynch added: “I’ve three girls and a boy. Fiadh is 13, Caolan 12, Maiti is nine and Nila is turning seven in May.

“Nila was born at 27 weeks and spent almost the first six months of her life in an Intensive Care Unit. She was intubated for most of that time.

“When three-weeks-old she had a heart operation and every year she gets airway stretches. Chronic lung disease is one of her conditions.”

To fight off the virus, Lynch and his family are living their lives in lockdown.

“We have needed to stay in total isolation for a number of weeks,” added Lynch, who was part of Eddie Patterson’s managerial team at Glentoran when the club won two Irish Cups.

“Sometimes we will go for a drive and a walk in the early evening when no one else is around. It’s important that we don’t have contact with other people.

“We haven’t been around anyone and our shopping is delivered. My parents are in their 70s and they are also in isolation so it’s a total lockdown for us.

Nila has 12 weeks of total isolation and it may reach the stage when I take a step out and get back on the pitch but there’s no point in thinking about that at the moment

“It’s frustrating because you are so used to routine in your life and for myself it’s worrying about football matters like your next match.

“I like to keep myself busy and we’ve been working on a new game model for next year which is taking up much of our time.

“We are keeping in touch with the players but the positive aspect to all this is being able to spend time with my wife and kids. I’ve even been talked into making dinner but that might not last long!”

It’s a frustrating time for all families and the enforced separation from loved ones can feel heartbreaking.

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Checking in: Tiernan Lynch is keeping an eye on his players

Checking in: Tiernan Lynch is keeping an eye on his players

©INPHO/Evan Logan

Checking in: Tiernan Lynch is keeping an eye on his players

“You are always worried about what is happening but we are doing everything we can to protect ourselves,” added Lynch, whose brother Seamus is part of the coaching team at Larne.

“Nila has 12 weeks of total isolation and it may reach the stage when I take a step out and get back on the pitch but there’s no point in thinking about that at the moment.

“The two younger ones aren’t affected as much. The two older ones would be a bit more self-sufficient. Caolan plays for Larne Youth and he was out four days a week playing football. Fiadh had been going to school and socialising but now she has to stick to her school day while at home.

“I’m trying to keep life as normal as possible and I would still spend many hours in the day thinking about football and working.

I don’t think anyone could have predicted the shocking situation we find ourselves in. I just hope everyone behaves responsibly and stays safe

“I’m not a television person. Football is my life and I enjoy reading about it but of course our priority is to keep the virus away from our family.

“I don’t think anyone could have predicted the shocking situation we find ourselves in. I just hope everyone behaves responsibly and stays safe.”

Depending on how the health crisis pans out, there remains the possibility of a packed fixture schedule in the summer to finish off the season.

Lynch understands the desire to play football again but he will be keeping a firm eye on the physical and mental health of his players.

“We have to wait and see how long this lasts,” he added.

“The players have individual training programmes and if we are playing in June that will be 11 weeks since we last played.

“If it’s July it could be 15 weeks. Any off season is six weeks, normally players get two weeks of rest and recovery and then we break them back in with a strategic pre-season schedule.

“That’s a worry. I understand we want to finish the season but the welfare of the players should not be lost on everyone.

“For players who have been on a 15-week break, any intense fixture schedule will inevitably have its challenges.”

Belfast Telegraph