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Eimear Smyth: 'Sports stars will be desperate to reward fans' faith once action finally return'

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Eimear Smyth in action for Fermanagh

Eimear Smyth in action for Fermanagh

©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Eimear Smyth in action for Fermanagh

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 Fermanagh's Eimear Smyth, one of Ulster's leading ladies gaelic football players.

Q: How are you keeping?

A: I am staying extremely focused in terms of trying to look after myself and thank God I am in good health. I think it is even more important in the current situation to take care in how you live your life.

Q: How have you been affected?

A: I am a student at University College, Dublin but since everything went into lockdown I have been studying from home as classes have moved online. I have become used to this - my studies have increased lately in the build-up to the examinations which were also online. I just completed them recently.

Q: How are you keeping fit?

A: The Fermanagh team management have sent all the players a gym programme so I have been busily engaged in undertaking this. The team also does a Zoom work-out every week which I find very beneficial. My club is Derrygonnelly Harps and we are doing individual fitness routines. I think that it's great to stay connected with the other players from both teams on the fitness front.

Q: How are you maintaining morale, yours and the team?

A: I watched a seminar recently where the presenter suggested that we should pick one element of our lives to work on in the current circumstances and then take it from there.

I thought it was good advice and given that I had been travelling up and down to Dublin by bus until the current lockdown, I felt that I should focus more on my mobility as I thought it had gone down in terms of a personal priority.

Sitting in a bus for long periods can make you stiff and less energetic but I have discovered by working on this it has helped my movement and indeed lifted my spirits.

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

A: I find now that by adopting the 'Mindfulness' principles, which involves meditation, I can adhere to a more positive outlook. Obviously studies, football and family are all important parts in my life and I like to think that I can draw inspiration from all three.

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

A: I am currently reading a book 'Champion Minded' by a well-known sports motivator Allistair McCaw which I must say I find particularly fascinating. It gives a great insight into what it takes to reach the top both in life and in sport. I think that 'The Last Dance' would prove a very good box-set while 'The Blind Side', which focuses on Michael Oher's rise from an impoverished background to becoming a US National Football League star, is an absorbing film that I would recommend.

Q: What life lesson are you learning from this?

A: I think I have come to appreciate more fully the absolute importance of community spirit. In my own home area the Derrygonnelly Harps club have been showing the way on this front by offering help whenever and wherever it is required. The slogan 'We're all in this together' is something which has underpinned the battle against the coronavirus and this is perhaps best illustrated at local level where people watch out for their neighbours irrespective of class or creed. This is something which I hope we all can carry into the future. It's important that people are not left to confront their problems alone and that we actually live the 'We're all in this together' mantra rather than merely pay lip service to it.

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

A: I think I would enjoy nothing better than a full-scale county training session with all the rest of the girls. If we were honest, we would probably say that we will even enjoy some of the sprints that our manager Jonny Garrity is generally so keen to map out for us. He is always determined to keep us on our toes!

Q: And your message to the fans?

A: Obviously when you look down the line you might see a period of months where there will be no ladies football but I don't think we should allow this to dissuade us from the belief that there will be a return to on field action. This being the case, I would urge fans to show patience and sit tight and await confirmation from the health experts and the respective governments that it is safe to proceed. When we get up and running again, I feel both Derrygonnelly and Fermanagh will be keen to reward the faith of their followers.

Belfast Telegraph