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Paddy Cunningham: We should learn to appreciate time. We have all been given a chance to stop and take stock


Paddy Cunningham

Paddy Cunningham

Paddy Cunningham

Paddy Cunningham

Paddy Cunningham

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 Gaelic footballer Paddy Cunningham who captained the side in the 2009 Ulster final against Tyrone.

Q: How are you keeping?

A: I am doing fine and so is my family. I am staying in the house as much as possible and taking no chances. These are frightening times and I think it is important to abide by the instructions we have been given if we hope to maintain our health. Your health is your wealth, after all.

Q: How has your daily life been affected?

A: Obviously the fact that I must remain indoors limits me in terms of what I can do given that I am very much an outdoor person but with three children currently pursuing their school work, I can assure you that I don't have too many idle moments. I have also been performing some household tasks which maybe had been put on the long finger. The school in which I teach is obviously closed but I find that I'm busier than ever.

Q: How are you keeping fit?

A: I have what you might call a bit of a gymnasium in the garage and that is proving something of a retreat for me. I can go in there and try and keep myself in shape. I have always been something of a fitness freak and I enjoy working out. Obviously I miss the squad sessions with Antrim but I am making the best of it until such time as normal activity resumes.

Q: How are you keeping up morale, both personally and in a team context?

A: I am keeping my spirits up by reflecting on the possibility that Antrim might get to play their two outstanding games in the Allianz Football League against Wicklow and Waterford. We are in a good position to get promotion and my biggest fear is that the league might be declared null and void. I know from contact I am having with other Antrim players that they think the same.

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

A: I am taking comfort from the fact that my family is healthy and that we have settled into what you might call some sort of routine. This provides me with peace of mind and encourages me going forward. In the current circumstances, I feel it is important to make the most of whatever plus factors there are.

Q: Sports fans are housebound, too, right now. Can you recommend a book, film or box set they might enjoy?

A: I am reading Tyson Fury's autobiography just now and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone, even if they don't have any real interest in boxing. I think that the film 'The Upside' is a brilliant comedy and is well worth viewing, while I think that 'The Tiger King' is a hugely entertaining box set.

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

A: There is absolutely no doubt that one of the lessons I have absorbed over these past couple of weeks is that you should appreciate time. I think we have all been given a chance to stop and take stock of ourselves. I have also come to have an even greater appreciation of family life. I have become more domesticated than ever!

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

A: I am really looking forward to popping along to Arizona on the Lisburn Road to enjoy a flat white. I hope that this proves to be sooner rather than later. It's a treat that I would enjoy.

Q: What message would you like to send out to Antrim fans?

A: My earnest plea to Saffron supporters could be put into three words - keep the faith. We have had an encouraging league campaign to date and it would be just brilliant if we got the chance to continue our hard work and go on to clinch promotion. Our manager Lenny Harbinson and the players would love to deliver this for our faithful followers and hopefully that is something to look forward to.

Belfast Telegraph