| 9.4°C Belfast

Ayeisha McFerran: Coronavirus pandemic will help me plot a clearer path of what I want from life



Ayeisha McFerran

Ayeisha McFerran

�INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Ayeisha McFerran

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 Ayeisha McFerran who was named goalkeeper of the tournament at the 2018 Hockey World Cup after her shootout heroics helped Ireland reach the final and lift the silver medals. The Larne woman, capped 100 times, plays professionally with leading Dutch club KV Kampong.

Q: How are you keeping?

A: I'm doing okay, thanks. It's been tough isolating in Holland away from everyone, but I have been speaking to my family and friends a lot which is helping. It's strange not playing hockey every day, as that is my job here. It has allowed me to delve into my other interests, like baking, drawing or painting. It's also been a good time to finally start working on mastering the Dutch language, so maybe by the end of this I'll be able to hold a conversation and not just say a few random words.

Q: How have you been affected?

A: Fortunately, I have had no direct effect from the virus but life right now in Holland is just different for the meantime. We were officially told last week that the Dutch league wasn't happening any more. Everything has been on lockdown for about seven weeks, meaning no sport or training of any kind during that whole time. That for me is weird, as my life revolves around being out and active every day.

Q: How are you keeping fit?

A: Our Strength & Conditioning coaches with Ireland have given us a programme to follow with a variety of options. For now, we are currently on a down period to relax and recharge the batteries before we go into a tidy-looking eight week physical block. I recently got myself a road bike, so it's been nice to get out and explore the routes in and around Utrecht and beyond. I was also fortunate to get myself some kettle bells before the whole nation here went fitness-mad and starting buying them like crazy, so I have been doing a lot with them.

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

A: I am very fortunate to be part of the Ireland women's hockey team as we have a great bunch of motivated girls with a lot of craic along the way. We like to stay in contact all the time so it's a big help being able to talk to the girls, even just speaking about how we feel and different things we are doing to get us all through this. When we heard the Olympics were going to be delayed, we were all very disappointed. However, another year of training, fitness and tactical knowledge will only serve us better when Tokyo eventually comes around.

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

A: With so little to do and so much time to do it, I have been able to reflect on how lucky I am to be fit and healthy amidst this terrible pandemic when others, particularly those who have lost loved ones, are much less fortunate.

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

A: Netflix and Disney Plus are my absolute best friends, there's nothing better than sitting down with a cuppa and binging on a box set because when else would you get time to do that? I'm loving a lot of crime documentaries like The Innocent Files and How to Fix a Drug Scandal. Also, you can't beat a Harry Potter marathon. I could probably quote most of them and explain the spells. Any of the Marvel movies are also quality. Book suggestions also follow the route of my favourite TV shows, so Harry Potter again. Outside of that I do love a good Lee Child action crime style thriller. I'm not sure what this is saying about me, but they're a good easy read!

Q: What life lessons are you learning from this?

A: To enjoy and be appreciative of what you have, tomorrow isn't guaranteed so you have to make the most of the moments you have. Being able to take a step back and look at an overall picture of what is happening in the world is very important and not being too focused on the little things that once would have caused stress or anxiety. I feel that going forward, once we have got through this, it will allow me to be able to have a clearer path on where I want to be and what I want to do with my life.

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

A: I'm not quite sure. Maybe if timing works out, get home to see my family and friends or, if not, treat myself and go out for a posh meal somewhere - it would be nice not cooking for myself for once. There are so many things I can't control right now, I'm trying not to look too far ahead and take each day as it comes.

Q: And your message to sports fans?

A: Stay safe and stay at home. There will be a time when this will be over, sport will return and we will be able to look back and say how we survived this together.

Belfast Telegraph