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Michael McShane: 'It would be easy to moan about restrictions but I'm enjoying time with family'



Michael McShane

Michael McShane

�INPHO/Oisin Keniry

Michael McShane

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 Slaughtneil hurling manager Michael McShane.

Q How are you keeping?

A: I am feeling grand considering the great change to my normal way of life. While I am now working full-time from home, my job as a business insurance professional means I am even busier than usual. Having three young boys about the house also means there is no idle time when work stops as we play out All-Ireland hurling finals and World Cup finals in the back garden.

Q How have you been affected?

A: My work life is now completely from home whereas in normal times I would be travelling across the country, meeting with clients and responding to their business needs.

I find it much harder to operate in this way but technology such as Zoom has allowed me to get some face-to-face meetings set up and with so many of my clients affected by the lockdown this has been vital in allowing me to offer the appropriate level of response.

Home life is now different too, but for the better. I am getting much more family time than I would normally get and I must say if there is anything positive to be taken from this pandemic it is the realisation of what I miss when spending whole days away from my wife and children at work and hurling.

Q How are you keeping fit?

A: With three sons who are all sport mad, I am being kept very active in the back garden with hurling, football, basketball and table tennis. You name it, we play it.

The boys and I have been doing the TJ Reid fitness programme every Tuesday and Thursday - I don't hold any grudges! (TJ Reid's Ballyhale beat Slaughtneil narrowly in the All-Ireland Club hurling semi-final in January).

I have dusted down my mountain bike, which was idle for a long time, and have been getting up and down a few trails in the local forest a few times per week in my one hour per day allowance.

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

A: With Slaughtneil, we have a very active WhatsApp group. The lads are keeping in touch with one another and with management and letting each other know what they are up to in order to keep fitness levels up.

While it may seem foreign to a 'Townie' like me, it seems lambing season is as good a way as any to keep your fitness levels high. There have been skills challenges taken on and posted in the group as well and the competitive spirit of the squad really comes to the fore then.

Spirit amongst the Slaughtneil hurlers is always great and while we are all frustrated by the lack of training and games at present, everyone remains focused on our goal of securing our eighth Derry title in a row when the action resumes.

Q Where are you drawing your personal strength from now?

A: It would be easy to sit about and moan about the restrictions on our lives right now but I am just trying to enjoy the time I have been given with my family.

It has been inspiring to see how communities have come together to support one another and to look out for the most vulnerable in their area and to see the heartfelt support and thankfulness for those who are on the frontline and risking their lives on a daily basis to help others.

I believe when this pandemic passes, we will all be better for it and more appreciative of the most important things in our lives like our loved ones, or homes and our health.

Q Is there a book, film or box set you could recommend to stay at home sports fans?

A: I would highly recommend the Netflix series 'Sunderland 'Til I Die'. Very interesting behind the scenes footage of what happens on a day to day basis in a professional soccer club. The current reruns of old All-Ireland finals on both RTE and TG4 are also compelling viewing.

Q What life lessons have you learned from this?

A: Slow down and enjoy what you have got. The love of your children, your health and a happy home are maybe sometimes taken for granted.

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

A: I will take my boys down to my parents' house so they can give granny and grandpa a big hug. That has been badly missed during our lockdown. A nice meal with my wife and friends and a big, cold pint of Guinness will be greatly appreciated.

Q And your message to the team's supporters?

A: I can assure them that when this all ends and we get back to playing again, we will be as hungry as ever for more success. In the meantime, please stay home and stay safe.

Belfast Telegraph