TWO Cork players, captain Amy O’Connor and Laura Treacy, have different views on the current playing season and how they think it’ll play out.
“I can’t personally see action this year, especially when John Horan said that if there’s going to be social distancing still in October, then there won’t be any GAA until social distancing is gone,” says Laura.
“Social distancing could be here for another two years for all we know unless they come up with some vaccine or medication that is proven to work. They won’t find that in a few months, and people will be slow to take the vaccine when there’s no study or results to judge the effects of it."
Amy, with a Masters in pharmacy and currently working as a project manager with a software company, feels that a vaccine won’t be available in the short term, but feels there is still a chance of action on the field. In her first year as captain of the team, she must be disappointed?
“It is very disappointing, I suppose, on a personal level, but at the same time there are much more important things at the moment, and that is my family and friends coming out of this healthy,” she says.
“I want it (the games) to come back, but it’s hard to tell at the moment. I was glad in a way that the GAA came out and left that bit of hope there by saying October. What if they had cancelled it completely and then come August we’ve come out of coronavirus and we’d be saying: ‘we could have played’. So I’m glad that no decision has been made.”
Laura is a nurse at CUMH, the maternity hospital, but is working in the Colposcopy clinic, based in St Finbarr’s grounds in Douglas road. She is thankful her clinic has remained open.
“All of the outpatients clinics were cancelled in the CUH when the restrictions came in, but because we are offsite and Colposcopy is an urgent clinic, we are one of the lucky ones in that we are still operating,” she says.
“Colposcopy is a cervical check. If you have abnormal smear results from your GP or the lab, you come into a colposcopy clinic. We’re diagnostics. We do biopsies and treatments for people who have small cancer/pre-cancerous cells.
"We don’t do major surgeries, that’s the next step if required. We’ve a huge waiting list. Because of the dilemma over the CervicalCheck screening a couple of years ago, the referrals have increased massively. The whole screening programme is paused, so if you were due a smear test, you have to wait — but we are catching up on our waiting list and it’s great to be getting that reduced.
“I trained in Waterford and was up and down the road for Cork training. I then got a job in the Mercy Hospital and worked there for nine months leading into the summer of 2018. I trained with Martin (O’Brien) before the girls would arrive to do their training and then I’d go to work and do a 12-hour shift. It was just torture.
“I wasn’t going to give up camogie, so I ended up doing agency nursing. I did a few shifts in the Colposcopy clinic and it really suited me. I loved the job and the hours suited camogie. I was offered a full-time role in there and now I’m training to be a Colposcopist."
How is she coping with the individual training?
“It’s a hard one. I never took up camogie to be training alone.
"Up until last week I was doing a lot in building my fitness and strength. I’m still training five nights a week, but in the past week I’m changing how I train a bit. I used to time runs and try to beat that weekly.
“Sunday just gone I decided to do a longer run, but not as fast. It’s very hard to keep motivated and know what way it’s going to go. I’d nearly wish they’d decide on it.
"If the HSE approved it then great, but more than likely it’s not going to go ahead. How is it feasible? If it’s not going to be safe in groups of 30, 40, or 50 people, then it’s not worth it.
“Gathering 30 amateur players for training and going home to families with no cure or vaccine? I think they need to call it soon. If we are aiming for October, well how should we be training with that date in mind? So as much as I’d hate it, I just wish they’d call it.”
Amy feels that you need to find a bit of ‘bite’ within you to keep going.
“I think when you’re playing with Cork you need to have a bit of bite. At this level you need to be motivated regardless of whether you’re on your own or with a team,” she says.
“It is hard and some will find it easier than others. I think we need to keep a good baseline and if we go back, then ramp it up at speed. I think players should use the time to better themselves.
“I struggle with my flexibility so that’s something I’ll be focusing on, others could struggle with their speed, so they could work on that.
“I’m still hopeful, but I’m fully aware that if it’s too dangerous, then we can’t (go back).
“[I know] from my pharmacy background, vaccines can take years to develop and get approval. So we’ll have to wait and see."