HUGH McFadden says he understands the negative comments levelled towards the GAA about the continuing of games in lockdown.
However, the big Donegal midfielder insists that the benefits of playing outweigh the reasons for shutting down.
A primary school teacher at Scoil an Linbh Íosa in Killymard, a few miles outside Donegal Town, McFadden is well aware of the fears around the spread of the coronavirus.
Others on the Donegal squad, like Eamonn Doherty and Caolan McGonigle, are secondary school teachers.
“We carry responsibility in terms of having the highest contact in the working day,” McFadden said.
“You have to be aware, even coming to training, that you have to take the health and safety of others into account with how you carry yourself.
“Obviously there are people working in public jobs that are still working with a lot of people so that is going to be a challenge, but we’re very happy how it’s going.
“I feel very comfortable. The school has very good guidelines and they’ve adopted a very common sense approach to being back.
“You miss the extra curricular activity and trips away, but compared to where we were earlier in the year, it’s good to be back.”
Donegal returned from the inter-county break on Sunday with a 2-17 to 2-13 win over Tyrone to secure Division 1 status. They travel to Kerry this weekend to complete their League programme, but the Tir Chonaill minds already appear to have turned to Sunday-week’s Ulster SFC clash with Tyrone.
It will be a very different midterm now for McFadden with the Ulster Championship on the menu.
He said: “The lack of socialising is not something that will worry too many of us around this time of the year.
“In the lead up to a big championship game, you turn into a wee bit of a recluse yourself.
“We are well used to keeping the heads down but there are other aspects of life which may cause a little more worry.
“My focus for Donegal takes up a huge part of my life. How I structure my life, from what I do when I leave work to what time I eat, is based around playing for Donegal. Having that back in the life again will make the long nights a wee bit shorter.”
The absence of fans certainly gives the whole experience an eerie feel.
If anything, though, pulling on the jersey – even having to do it in the middle of an otherwise empty stand as opposed to the bunker of a dressing room – has a heightened feeling these days.
He said: “There is a responsibility and an onus on us.
“I got messages from random people saying that the game had made the week for a granny, a granddad or an uncle. The game changed the topic of conversation for a day or two.
“I don’t think we want to celebrate or maraud that in people’s faces. There are risks and you can feel a bit of animosity, which is understandable, but the benefits outweighs that.”Tags: