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Kevin McKernan: 'I think people have discovered the fast pace that they're living isn't sustainable'

 

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Kevin McKernan

Kevin McKernan

�INPHO/Presseye/Jonathan Porte

Kevin McKernan

Kevin McKernan

�INPHO/Jonathan Porter

Kevin McKernan

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 Kevin McKernan, the most experienced player in the current Down team - his father Brendan won an All-Ireland medal with the Mourne county in 1991.

Q: How are you keeping?

A: I am in good form and keeping busy. This helps to ensure I stay mentally focussed and in a positive frame of mind.

Q: How have you been affected?

A: I am a teacher in a school in Newry and in working from home I am finding that I have to find the right balance between a pupil's educational needs and their home circumstances. You are never going to find a one size fits all model in this respect but it certainly helps to keep me on my toes and I relish the challenge.

Q: How are you keeping fit?

A: I think there has to be a realisation that we won't be back in collective training shortly so we have to try and maintain our own training schedules. I try to keep myself in the best condition I can by running, doing some gym work and watching what I eat. I think it's a matter of following a routine in terms of staying in shape.

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

A:I try to touch base with as many of my playing colleagues as possible on an ongoing basis. A few of us have just participated in a fund-raising exercise for Newry Hospice in conjunction with local outfitter Louis Boyd by having our heads shaved so you could say that I am feeling the draught! We feel that by doing something positive we are giving a little of ourselves back to our local area.

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

A: I get satisfaction from my work and I also derive great encouragement from the efforts of others who are doing such magnificent work in their roles with the National Health Service. The current situation has taught us all to think outside the box and I believe that we will be the better for this. You learn to count your blessings in this terrible crisis and the big hope is that it will pass soon.

Q: Sports fans are staying at home, too. Can you recommend a book, film or box set you think they might enjoy?

A: I am in no doubt that 'Brian O'Driscoll - The Test', the autobiography of one of the finest rugby players ever in my view, would make a fascinating read for anyone. It is honest and uncompromising and gives a great insight into rugby at the highest level. I recently watched the film 'Wonder' which is about a young boy with a facial disfigurement and how he copes with this at home and in school. I found it very moving and insightful, I must say - indeed, it was totally engrossing. In terms of a box-set I would find it hard to go past 'Game of Thrones'.

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

A: I think people have discovered that the fast pace at which they have been living their lives is not so sustainable in the long run. Quite honestly I feel that the circumstances in which we are currently living is a reality check for most of us and have allowed us to separate the important things from elements of our lives that we maybe only thought were important.

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

A: I would just love to think that I will enjoy a social get-together with family and friends at which it won't be necessary to exercise the stringent restrictions which of necessity are in operation right now. I am also looking forward very much to linking up with my club colleagues from Burren and the Down squad for training again and putting our heads together in the pursuit of success.

Q: And your message to Down fans?

A: My big hope is that the season will be resurrected and that Down will maybe get the chance to play their two remaining league games and possibly clinch promotion to Division Two. I also hope that the Ulster Championship is staged later in the year as this would give us the opportunity to build on the form we had been showing in the league before the lockdown kicked in.

Belfast Telegraph