WEST Cork club Tadhg MacCarthaigh players Kayla and Amy McKennedy are enhancing their football skills despite having to stay at home during the Covid-19 outbreak.
The McKennedys are similar to thousands of households around the country over the past number of weeks. Adhering to HSE and government guidelines, Denis and Bernie plus their daughters Clodagh (18), Amy (14) and Kayla (9) are remaining in their Caheragh home to help flatten the curve of a global pandemic virus.
“The weather has been a big help in allowing the girls to get out into the garden for some fresh air, exercise and play a bit of football,” Bernie McKennedy commented to The Echo.
“The children are continuing on as best they can between schoolwork and staying active. It is all about trying to stick to a routine but making sure they get enough breaks too.
“Sport is very important to them right now. Football is Amy’s big interest while Kayla loves a wide range of sports like Taekwondo, athletics and gymnastics. They miss those activities which is why all the challenges being delivered through social media are vital to keeping the girls occupied.”
The LGFA, West Cork LGFA and Cork senior Orlagh Farmer’s commendable efforts in delivering daily challenges has encouraged up and coming footballers to practice their skills whilst at home.
Kayla McKennedy is a case in point.
The nine-year-old Tadhg MacCarthaigh footballer recently registered a score of 49 in the left and right foot 30-second kicking challenge. Last year, the Skibbereen Athletics club member finished second in the U9 All-Ireland Turbo Javelin with partner Laura May Coakley and also qualified for the U9 All-Ireland pairs race with Izzy O’Flynn.
“I am nine-years-old and go to Caheragh National School,” Kayla commented.
“My teacher’s name is Ms. Agnes Foley and I miss seeing my school friends at the moment. I have been doing the skills challenge at home and managed a score of 49.
“I was training with Tadhg MacCarthaigh until we had to stay at home. I am missing the training sessions and my coaches Liam O’Donovan and Sean O’Sullivan. I am practicing every day though and my favourite sports are gymnastics and football. I have been doing gymnastics a long time and I practice that most days as well.
“It is nice to be at home with my family but getting back out to play gymnastics and football with my friends is something I am looking forward to a lot!”
Amy McKennedy made her mark on the inter-county scene by making this year’s Cork U14 squad. A talented defender, the Tadhg MacCarthaigh player featured at centre-back in the Leesiders’ Munster Championship victories over Tipperary and Waterford.
“I miss meeting up with my Cork U14 manager Lisa Walsh and all the players,” Amy McKennedy said.
“There are a good few West Cork girls on this year’s squad which is great. I was involved in our first two Munster U14 games against Tipperary and Waterford. That was a great opportunity and it was a level up (in terms of quality) compared to what I was used to. Centre-back is my favourite position and I played there for Cork in our first two games. I have always liked defending and the Tadhg MacCarthaigh coaches that helped me since I started playing football are Claire Fitzgerald and Catherine Keating.
“I’d advise any young girl interested in playing for Cork to try out for it because you get to meet loads of new people and make new friends. It is a great opportunity to get to play football at that level.
“I work on my skills every day of the week. You need to practice every day and it also helps with your fitness. Things are difficult at the moment but there are plenty of skills you can practice while you are at home.
“I’m looking forward to meeting everyone in the Cork U14 squad and getting to play football with them again. It was disappointing to hear that they won’t be completing this year’s U14 championship so I hope they organise something for us at some stage.
“I want to keep playing for Cork up through the different grades and, if possible, make the senior team when I’m older.”