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Conor McCann: 'Our wedding has been put off until August, but other people are suffering greater trauma'



Conor McCann and his fiancee Shauna McGrogan

Conor McCann and his fiancee Shauna McGrogan

Conor McCann and his fiancee Shauna McGrogan

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 Antrim hurling team captain Conor McCann.

Q: How are you keeping?

A: I am keeping as well as can be in the current circumstances. I try to keep busy and not dwell too much on things.

Q: How have you been affected?

A: I work for a Belfast IT company, Sugar Rush Creative, on the Ormeau Road and for the past number of weeks I have been based at my home. I have slipped into my own nine to five routine and find that I can discipline myself. In a sense I am lucky enough in that I have projects to undertake and these keep me on my toes mentally.

Q: How are you keeping fit?

A:: I am staying in shape by adhering to a fitness programme that I have. Obviously with no collective training it's up to everyone as an individual to keep themselves in tune. We had reached a good level of fitness as a team before the lockdown and it has been a matter of maintaining our own personal levels of fitness since then.

Q: How have you and the team been maintaining morale?

A: While you miss playing games, I can maintain morale by focusing on the forthcoming All-Ireland Championship in which Antrim will compete in the Joe McDonagh Cup.

This is the second tier of the All-Ireland and if we were to win the trophy it would mean getting into the mainstream All-Ireland competition for the Liam McCarthy Cup next year.

I also have my sights fixed on the possible staging of the Division Two A League final in which we were scheduled to play Kerry just three days before the curtain came down last month.

I now sincerely hope that a window can be created in which this game could take place as we would love a shot at Division One hurling.

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

A: I am happy to still be in full employment as this gives me confidence and optimism going forward and I am also taking great encouragement from the magnificent efforts of those who are on frontline NHS duty.

I think they set a splendid example to the rest of us and we should take our lead from them. There are also people in local communities doing great work in helping others in a variety of ways and I have nothing but the highest admiration for them.

Q: Can you recommend a book, film or box set you think stay at home sports fans might enjoy?

A: I have been watching 'All or Nothing' which provides an insight into Manchester City's 2018 Premier League campaign and I found it fascinating. It's real fly on the wall stuff and it focuses strongly on City manager Pep Guardiola. Mind you, I'm saying all that even though I am an Arsenal supporter!

In terms of a book, I am currently finding the autobiography of Brian Cody, the Kilkenny hurling manager, a riveting read. And as far as films are concerned, 'Bohemian Rhapsody' would rate very highly on my radar as I would be a big Queen fan.

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

A: I have learned to be more patient, to have a greater appreciation of my health and to immerse myself more in family life.

I was due to marry my fiancée, Shauna McGrogan, a few weeks ago but because of the lockdown our wedding has been put off until August. This as much as anything has taught me to be patient! I am very conscious, though, that people are suffering much greater trauma than this and I feel for them.

Q: What is the first thing you will do when all this is over?

A: I can think of nothing that I would enjoy more than to host a barbecue at my home with all the family present. I believe this kind of get-together would help us all to be thankful for our good health and appreciate that we can be there to support each other as we all move on in life.

Q: Do you have a message for Antrim hurling fans?

A: I would ask them at this point in time to take heart from our early-season results and get behind us if we are fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to avail of a double-pronged bid to join the big guns. We would achieve this if we were to win the Division 2A final against Kerry or if we were to lift the Joe McDonagh Cup. If I'm honest, I would say that I would settle for both these honours!

Belfast Telegraph