Ruairí Deane: Health has to be the priority over Gaelic football for now

Ruairí Deane: Health has to be the priority over Gaelic football for now
Cork midfielder Ruairí Deane in action against Jordan Hayes of Offaly earlier in the league before his injury. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

RUAIRÍ DEANE’S plight provides another angle on the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Bantry Blues player is recovering from surgery on a hamstring injury. It ruled him out of Cork’s last league game, against Derry on March 1.

It all happened in a whirlwind for the 28-year-old, who is a PE teacher at Beara Community School. He visited a specialist in London on a Friday, underwent the knife on Saturday, and was back home in West Cork the following day.

“I’m in week seven of my recovery and it’s going well enough, even though I’m not able to do a whole pile, to be honest,” Deane said.

“I can do light exercises at home, things like that, body weights, walking around, but there’s no running yet.

“I think I’m on schedule, but it’s hard to know, at the same time, because I’m not meeting up with anyone, though that can be great at times,” Deane said, laughing.

Because of all the restrictions, one-to-one dealings are no longer possible.

“Basically, everything is done remotely, messages being passed on over the phone and acting on how I’m feeling. I expect, after a few more weeks, I’ll pick it up.

“It’s all a bit uncertain, because I don’t know if this will push me back a little or keep me on track,” Deane said. “Initially, it was four to five months and I assume it’s still the same,” he added.

Picture: INPHO/James Crombie
Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

Deane is quick to place everything in context, though the uncertainty gnaws away at players.

“Football is not the most important thing, at the moment,” Deane said.

“What players want is clarity on the position, because I know there’s a lot of hard work in training going on behind the scenes.

“Fellows are trying to stay fit and healthy, in the chance that there will be an inter-county season.

“But that uncertainty is still around and nobody knows what’s going to happen, though I understand it’s very difficult for people, the way this is going, at the moment.

“Decisions will have to be made on what’s happening, as well. Health is the priority over football now,” Deane said.

His Bantry colleagues are tipping away with their own programmes, even if football hasn’t been discussed that much.

“What it has done is brought up different kinds of events, which have kept the lads in touch. This weekend, for instance, they’re staging a fund-raiser for Pieta House, undertaking a 24-hour run to raise much-needed finance,” Deane said.

“I see on social media a lot is going on with this kind of event and, I suppose, it keeps clubs in touch with reality, as well.

“People are struggling with their mental health in the current crisis and Pieta House would have lost out on a lot of money, with the cancellation of the Darkness into Light run,” he said.

“I think people are showing a lot more humility, given the situation.”

Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Deane continues to work with his students, remotely, but it’s not easy.

“In general, you’d outline a shot of work for them to do, either on the Monday, for the rest of the week, or teach them live, online lessons during their timetable slot,” Deane said.

“It’s not the same as being in school, because kids are in different situations and circumstances.

“I know some of them have no access to the internet and some have poor quality,” he said. “Then, you could have a situation like five kids in one house, two in secondary school and three in primary, and they’re trying to balance having just one or two computers between all of them. It’s not the same and it is challenging, but the kids have been brilliant,” Deane said.

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