PARAMEDIC ambulance driver, Bantry Bay Rovers academy coach and West Cork Masters League player Richie Mullany will be working tirelessly to keep people safe during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Mullany is one of many West Cork-based individuals working in the medical sector and tasked with facing down the virus alongside fellow HSE personnel. Transporting sick, injured or convalescent persons to and from hospital is all in a day’s work for the paramedic.
Yet, these are unprecedented times and Mullany, along with fellow HSE staff, are preparing to deal with an unheralded escalation in the number of people requiring medical attention.
It is not easy to predict the surge in Covid-19 cases that will develop throughout the country over the coming weeks and months. One thing is for certain, the surge is coming and the HSE are preparing as best as they possibly can to meet the demand. At the time of writing, over 4,000 cases and 100 Covid-19 related deaths have occurred in the Republic of Ireland.
“I am a paramedic ambulance driver working out of Bantry (ambulance) station,” Richie Mullany told The Echo.
“We are tasked with bringing people to either Cork University Hospital or Bantry Hospital, depending on their situation. To be fair, the last couple of weeks have not been too bad despite the Covid-19 virus, things have been okay.
“Most people that might normally call us out are not calling because they are staying at home and doing what the HSE and government has asked of them. Things may have slowed down for now, but we know the surge is coming and will be here within the next couple of weeks.
“Our hours have not been altered too much as we have not been called out to help that many people from the Bantry area. As I said though, paramedic ambulance drivers expect to be extremely busy over the next few weeks and months. Things are escalating rapidly up in Cork and Dublin for the HSE so I would expect (possibly) a similar situation here before too long.”
In his job, Mullany engages with a huge number of people and travels across a wide geographical area. Covering both urban and rural parts of West Cork, the Bantry Bay Rovers coach is delighted to see the vast majority adhering to HSE guidelines about staying at home and maintaining safe social distancing.
“People in West Cork are being very good and doing as they are told,” Mullany said.
“Naturally, they are very worried about Covid-19 as it is something no one has had to deal with before. What we are trying to do is to keep people at home for as long as we possibly can so that our hospitals can handle the number of admissions that are coming.
“We are quite a hardy nation though and have been very responsive to what has been asked of us so far. You only have to look at the numbers in Spain and Italy to see how quickly this virus spreads so for now, everyone (in Ireland) is doing the right thing.
“I feel we also need to thank the people that are keeping us fed, stocked up and the country functioning. If we all do our bit then we will come through this and who knows, be all the better for it.”
Richie Mullany has been working as a paramedic for over 24 years including 13 years based in London. A Yorkshire man by birth, the Huddersfield native moved to the Bantry area 11 years ago with wife Maudie, son Sam and daughter Ellie. Getting involved with the local soccer club, Mullany became a coach in Bantry Bay Rovers’ highly regarded Youth Academy and still lines out for the Kealkill side’s Masters team.
“I’m still playing every week of the summer for Bay Rovers in the West Cork Masters League,” the Paramedic ambulance driver stated.
“I first got involved with the club about two years ago. I was coming along and helping out with the academy every Friday night.
“Then less than a year ago, I asked if I could take on the U11s within the academy because I believe that is the most important age for any young footballer.
“At age nine and 10, children are still learning but when it comes to 11, they are stepping up and playing more and more games. In my training sessions, there are no individual drills. We just play a game and incorporate different elements like two-touch, three-touch and running off the ball while the game is going on.
“We stop the game every 15 minutes and introduce a new drill to them but then get the players to carry that out while they are playing a game. Sometimes, I think we can overdo it when it comes to drills and young people just want to play, so they don’t necessarily take in what you are coaching.
“I’m trying this concept where the children try the drill out in a game situation and it seems to be working. I have 30 Bantry Bay Rovers players at the U11 age-grade. They all come to the academy training because I don’t want to exclude anybody and involve as many as we can.”
Coaching children and playing Masters League football for Bantry Bay Rovers has given Richie Mullany a huge amount of enjoyment and personal satisfaction. The paramedic ambulance driver is looking forward to returning to the playing fields as soon as possible but for now has a much more important role in his local community.